Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see. By faith…Hebrews 11 NIV
Have you ever wondered why some Christians appear to have great faith in God while others will indicate they have little faith that God will bring about anything good in their lives? Does having great faith mean that we always do the right thing, make the right decision, or choose wisely? Do those who have great faith always prosper according to the standards set by the current social climate?
Hebrews 11 is known as “Faith’s Hall of Fame” and yet those listed in that chapter often made poor choices. Noah got drunk, Abraham tried to help God’s plan along by fathering a child with his wife Sarah’s handmaid and Sarah laughed in disbelief when she heard she would have a child in her old age. Moses murdered an Egyptian. Rahab was a prostitute. In order to have Bathsheba and cover his sin, David sent Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to certain death in the front lines of battle.
Verses 32-38 list accomplishments attained by faith. Kingdoms were conquered, justice administered, the mouths of lions closed, weakness turned to strength and women received back their dead—raised to life again.
Yet, great faith did not always bring good results. Others were tortured, faced jeers and flogging and were chained and put in prison. They were stoned, sawed in two; put to death by the sword. They were destitute, persecuted and mistreated—wandering in deserts, mountains, caves and holes in the ground.
Given those results, most of us would not try to enroll on that list. However, we would want to be included in verse 39—“These were all commended for their faith…”
As we learned from the examples of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, people of faith can make poor decisions and unwise choices. Those choosing to follow God may not always be successful or prosperous in the eyes of the world. But, we must go back to Hebrews 11:1—“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
For me, having great faith boils down to one thing. Believe God—always, in every circumstance, not some of the time but all of the time, not when life is good but when life comes tumbling down around my head, not only when things are going my way but when it looks as if my hopes and dreams will never come to fruition—believe God! Intentional faith—believe God on purpose all the time.
I wish I could say that I have it together. I don’t! But isn’t it just like our great big loving God to continue shaping us, molding us and giving us one more opportunity to get it right! I thank God for grace!