Over the years on my Faith journey I have often read Hebrews 11, commonly referred to as the “Hall of Faith.” This chapter is full of incredible examples throughout the Old Testament of men and women who followed God in the midst of trials and endured to see God’s faithfulness to them.
I love this chapter. I struggle with this chapter.
I love it for the stories it shares and the proof that nothing is impossible with God. I struggle with it because I wonder if I would have had the same kind of faith. I wonder if I would have trusted God enough.
Then I remember how the chapter starts,”Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3). In other words, faith is what we cannot touch or see it is something that must be trusted and believed.
When the “ancients” were in the middle of their situations, I wonder if they struggled with doubt. As human beings, I am inclined to believe they did, as I would. However, they didnt’ stay in their doubt. They stepped forward in Faith.
Faith that encouraged them, grew them, challenged them that with God they could accomplish the task set before them. It is their faith that encourages us today to keep putting our feet on the faith journey we walk. It is no coincidence that the writer of Hebrews begins chapter 12 they way he did.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2).
We are called to continue the race set before us because we have these men and women of Faith cheering us on in Heaven, the ultimate cheerleaders. That image is so encouraging to me. Those who have gone before, the “ancients” and those even in the last century are cheering us on–you and me– to keep going forward with God. They know the blessing of walking in Faith and they want us to know the blessing too.
So, by Faith, I will get out of bed, put my feet on the floor and keep going forward. My steps may be shaky at first, but my Faith muscles will grow stronger with use. I long to be faithful to God who is faithful to me.
There is nothing more incredible than knowing I am able to join this crowd of witnesses and complete the promise of Hebrews 11:39-40, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.“