Vision is the art of seeing things invisible. – Jonathan Swift
If you don’t feel encouraged when you read Hebrews 11, you’re not alone. It’s called the “Hall of Faith”; but honestly, it can read like a long list of peak performers. We can walk away feeling inadequate alongside these men and women.
If that’s the way we feel, we’re able to talk about it with Jesus. I imagine His response might go something like this:
“Have you read the list carefully?” He asks. “Name a few of them for Me.”
“Well, what about Noah?” we offer. “He built an ark on dry land.”
“Noah was a great man of faith,” Jesus agrees. “He also got drunk and exposed himself in his tent.”
“Abraham, then. He was a trusting guy.”
“Yes, he was. He also lied to Pharaoh and said his wife was his sister. And,” Jesus continues, “he slept with his maidservant while awaiting God’s promised son.”
Isaac? He lied about Rebekah being his sister.
Jacob. He deceived his own father.
Moses? Come on! He murdered a guy.
Rahab. She was a prostitute.
Gideon. A doubter. “It’s almost ironic that he’s included on this list of faith,” Jesus notes.
“All right,” we concede, “we stand corrected on the performance thing. But what set them apart? Why are they on this list?”
“These people lived by faith.”
At this point, most of us would ask Jesus to clarify what it means to live by faith. We understand being “saved by faith,” but “living by faith” seems a bit more mysterious.
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Oxygen, gravity, and love are all invisible things, and yet we are certain each exists. Someone told us about these things, we believed what we heard, and we saw evidence of their existence. Because we heard it and believed it, we live as though it’s true.
This is a life of faith.
Jesus, the invisibility factor definitely tries to tangle up my faith. This week, I ask You to tell me more about Your invisible promises. Enable me to see them. Then empower me to live as though they’re true. Amen.
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