There are times I almost shock myself with the amount of things I’ve never read in the Bible. I find familiar verses as I’m reading, but I’ve never read it straight through to really understand the context. I’m working on it!
Today I found myself reading through Hebrews 11… Go there. No, seriously, go get your Bible, or download the Bible app on your phone and read through Hebrews 11. Not sure what the title is where you are, but mine says “By Faith.” First, it explains what faith is. Which is so beautiful. After the explanation, it’s literally a list of names of people in the Bible who stepped out in faith. When it made zero sense, but “by faith”, they did something seemingly crazy because they trusted in God. Whatever He said, they would do. Wherever He led, they went.
Here’s how Hebrews 11 ends:
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God has planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV
I’m sorry…what? There is literally an entire page and a half here, with name after name of what we call “heroes of the faith.” Like, these are the people we preach about. We use as our examples. And yet, they didn’t receive the fulfillment of what was promised to them. Because “God had us in mind and had something better for us…” [Hebrews 11:40 AMP]. Their faith will not be brought to completion without us. In some way, the faith Moses and Abraham had will not be brought to completion without me.
I am in no way educated enough to explain this. I honestly read it about 5 times to be sure I wasn’t making it up. Nope. It’s the same in every translation. And though I may not totally understand it, I can tell you what it does for me. I want my faith to be something that makes their wait worth it. If my name will somehow, someday, be connected to these prophets and sons and daughters of God, you’d better believe I want to live out a life of FAITH.
“…Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” Hebrews 11:1 AMP
Do you know where my mind went while reading all of this? I wanted to write down what I could be known for, for my faith. In this long list, each paragraph starts with, “By faith, [insert name]…”
By faith, what have I done?
Truly, it scared me a little. Have I lived out my life walking in the kind of faith that is assurance of the things I hope for, and the evidence of things I can’t see? Do I comprehend as fact what I can’t experience?
Disclaimer: None of these strong, faithful servants we read about did it right all of the time. There were times they totally missed it. We focus on the one huge moment they gave it all to God. We don’t always see the big picture of when they were scared or anxious, or just straight up said “NO”. God isn’t asking us to be anything that we’re not. He’s not asking you to live out your faith the exact same way that Abraham did, or even the same way that I will.
This is in no way meant to make you feel guilty. But to challenge. To put a fire in your soul, as it did mine. Maybe write your own list. What kind of things have you done by faith? How do you hope to live this out? If you can’t think of anything, ask God to give you an opportunity to grow your faith. He’s not judging you, and I’m not either.
I want to be able to write my own list of things I’ve done in my life by faith. Knowing I may never see the end result of what’s been promised to me in this life.
But, “God had planned something better for us…” And I have to believe that’s enough for me. I’m praying it will be enough for you, too.