I am a sucker for a love story. But I confess to liking a good James Bond flick, too. I know some would say that’s an oxymoron. I can live with that. I also fall for stories of great tenacity in times of trial, and of people of great faith in the face of what would cause many to doubt.
So it is with Hebrews 11, in the Christian Bible. A man builds an ark on dry land. Ancient parents hide their son from an evil pharaoh’s murderous plot. A prostitute welcomes spies of God’s people. A man just blips from Earth to join God because he chose to walk so closely with his Lord that He took him.
Hebrews 11 – aka The Hall of Faith, Hebrews Hall of Faith or The Faith Hall of Fame.
Whatever you call it, I like it. What inspiration. Personally, Enoch wows me.
“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Heb. 11 5-6
Of course, Abraham’s realization that God could just bring Isaac back to life on the altar if he killed him shows a depth of wisdom and faith in God that I can’t match. And I love my faith in God! It’s such a gift that carries me through ups and downs. Still, Abraham reasons that God is God, so He’d just bring Isaac back. That took knowing God was good for His Word. And that took understanding God’s resurrection power – before He’d ever exercised it. Go, Father Abe!
So, how could I ever measure up to that? Goodness.
I examine my faith, and ask myself if I really believe from time to time. I think it’s a good exercise for me. I find myself sticking with the Truth every time.
Creation? Yep. I believe God made the world. .
Jesus is God, and the Son of God? Absolutely.
God came to earth in the human form of Jesus? Most certainly.
Bodily resurrection? Check.
Permanent salvation? Check.
Hell? Yes (Um, pardon.)
The Second Coming of Christ. Indeed.
I like to piddle in the Word, ping comments to God, sing in worship to Him.
But I am not so constantly aware of His constant presence that He has snatched me up without dying, like Enoch. And that’s OK with me. God graces me with blessings each day. When I’m faithful enough to recognize they’re from Him, all the better. (Back to that faith thing, right?)
When I look closer at Hebrews 11, I notice entries that surprise me. Barak made Hebrews 11, but he served under the prophetess Deborah’s leadership in war – perhaps because he was afraid or doubted God’s plan. (See Judges 4.) Gideon respectfully asked God for signs and reassurances before he would lead an attack against the Midianites, and win, with God’s help. (See Judges 6-7.)
Fear, doubt, and resistance to His calling appear as qualities of the very people listed in Hebrews Hall of Faith. Yet, those spiritual problems, crises of belief, are opposites. God still chose these people to be listed in His love letter to us.
Well, I face doubt. I wonder if I can possibly be used to reach a child at church with special needs. Some days I resist rolling out of bed (just ask my husband) to face early bird children God entrusted me to raise. Sometimes, I set His Book aside when I see a truth in it that I don’t know if I can fulfill. I don’t know what God will do in the lives of some of my neighbor children with tough home lives. I feel uncertainty about where His calling rests on my life in some ways right now.
Yet, I get up and go. Some days much slower than others. Some days happier than others, to be sure. (That may be related to caffeine intake, too.)
But it seems to me, He’s always there. I grouch at or to Him in prayer. I ask Him the tough questions. Pray for strength as I watch parents age, and hope for the best college experience a year from now for our oldest daughter, guidance through our middle daughter’s teen years, and I long for more of a love of reading for our youngest. God knows.
I don’t know the outcome of these situations. Living life with faith means following Him without knowing the outcome, and without seeing why He’s right. Boy, do I ever love God! I must fully confess, I do not always follow His leading. I miss the bull’s eye sometimes — often. But Who He is, His love and grace, and what He has carried me through far outweigh my doubts. Now — to remember that the next time I don’t get my way.
The faith I live, He gave me. Sure, I choose to build it by seeking Him. So did Barak, Abraham, and Enoch. So did many others. So do many others today. God knows why He listed the people in His book of Hebrews. He knows their full stories, and wanted them. Same with you. It’s not too late. You there, choose the way of faith.
©2011 Helene Bergren. Copy and photo. All rights reserved.