Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes struggle with faith. I believe in God, and I believe He’s good, and that I’m going to heaven one day. That’s easy for me. What’s hard is truly trusting, even when all my efforts seem to indicate that I can’t get somewhere in life or something can’t happen in my life. Actually taking steps of faith, sometimes in the dark, isn’t easy.
What of prayer? Does God not encourage us to pray and ask Him for things? He does. Yet God doesn’t always seem to answer. And if God doesn’t give me the desires of my heart (at least when they’re good desires), why pray? At times, my faith is nothing more than intellect, with it not really touching my heart. And my prayers? Weak.
One of the ideas I’ve gleaned from reading Larry Crabb is that the greatest blessing God has given us, is Himself. I have been down at times today, and minutes ago, I decided, made a choice, to not be down, and to have faith. It then ocurred to me how powerful the love of God is. I mean, I crave that love, the acceptance, the grace, and the forgiveness. Beyond that, I desire what is referred to in Galations 5, the fruit of the Spirit. The first three evidences of the Spirit being in our lives are Love, Joy, and Peace. Those all sound so wonderful to me, I thirst for them. And in saying I thirst, I catch a glimpse of what I really do thirst for. Maybe I won’t always be all that I’d like to be. I have no idea whether I’ll ever be married. But, beyond the tangible, I see God at this moment, and the blessings He gives that are so hard to grasp, yet are the things we truly long for. In the context of Hebrews 11, perhaps that’s what the early pioneers of our faith understood. They saw more than themselves, they saw God.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.