Sunday, October 24, 2010

Faith Til Death Revisited:

[Some thoughts on faith: Still haven't really grasped the full meaning of these verses, but here are some of my initial thoughts.  Would love to hear your thoughts on what you take from them.]

Hebrews 11:39-40
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.  

My definition of faith has been put to the test this year.  The main contributor to this challenge has been the list of unknowns that are constantly looming.  It’s hard to have faith in the unknown, in the unseen.  But on the other hand, as I’ve been learning, faith can only truly exist when there are unknowns…when things are unseen.  “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (vs. 1).  Once what is unseen becomes what can be seen, it no longer requires faith.  Once what is hoped for becomes what is actual, faith no longer has a function.

That perspective changes things for me.  I’ve always just assumed that faith brought with it proof- the moving of a mountain, the raising of the dead, the healing of the sick.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe all those things do require true faith…but the height of faith comes in the moments before those things occur.  The power is in the hoped for rather than the actual. Waiting for the mountain to move requires more faith than actually watching it move because faith is birthed in the moments of the unseen.  Faith is birthed in the unknown.

That perspective changes things for me because, now, I survey my life with a different measure of faith.  Rather than count the miracles I have witnessed (which I can maybe count on one hand) or the answered prayers…I now look at faith in a new way…I look for the "moments before".  I look for the fertile soil in my life in which God may plant His seeds of faith.  The vague future…the unanswered questions…the prayers still waiting to be crossed off the list…a faith that stands sure in what is hoped for, and certain of what is still unseen.  A faith that continues to believe, even in the face of death.

That verse never struck me so much as it did this time around.  I’ve loved chapter 11 of Hebrews- the “faith hall of fame” as they called it.  The stories of heroes of faith.  Heroes who saw God at work and gave their all for His name.  What solidified their faith even more to me was when I grasped that small verse at the very end, those few words that finally made so much sense in light of the definition of faith: “yet none of them received what had been promised”.  Men and women who were so certain of the unseen that even in their dying moments- having never seen- they held on to their faith, because they knew their God.  And with the voice of Job I hear these faithful say, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

I want this kind of faith.  A faith that is not rooted in the end result, but rooted only in Him.  A faith that doesn’t end with the miracle, but is fueled by it.  A faith that holds fast in the face of the unknown, in the face of the uncertain, and even continues in the face of death. 

Lord, thank you for the unknowns, creating fertile soul for our faith.  We put our hope in You.

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