Faith's Victory | Hebrews 11

Welcome to Real Life. Let’s talk faith.
Faith is like WiFi.
It’s invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need.
–Unknown
“I’m struggling with faith,” my friend told me. “I want to believe God. It’s not easy.” Perhaps you can relate. I sure can. The good news is we’re not alone. Most of us struggle with doubt from time to time. “Doubt is but another element of faith,” said St. Augustine of Hippo.

Hearing other faith stories can bolster our own. It’s the theme of Hebrews 11. But first, the chapter defines faith.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
We do not see God. Yet, we can be confident he exists. Though we don’t see his person, God leaves evidence of his existence all around us. Love, joy, and peace are all very real—though physically unseen. Their presence reveals a humanity created in God’s image. Physical evidence abounds as well. Sunset on the beach, the first flowers of spring, a baby’s smile, a robin momma feeding her chick. Creation points to a Creator.


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.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV (emphasis mine)
God promises. We who seek him will find him.[1] If you struggle with doubt, keep seeking. From ancient times, God has rewarded those who seek him by faith.

By faith, Enoch walked with God when the rest of the world was walking away. As a reward, Enoch never experienced death. God transported him directly to Paradise.

By faith, Noah obeyed God’s instructions and built an ark. He survived a catastrophic flood and inherited the righteousness of God.

By faith, Abraham answered God’s call. He left home with only God as his map. Abraham sojourned a foreign land, living in tents, never settling and building a home. Instead, he waited for his heavenly home whose architect and builder are God himself.

By faith, Abraham’s wife Sarah bore Isaac. Though she was barren, way past childbearing at ninety-years-old, and Abraham older still. And so, in her final years, Sarah was serenaded with sweet baby giggles.

By faith, some have conquered kingdoms, administered justice, shut lions’ mouths, escaped the sword. In their weakness, God became their strength. But others, by faith, experienced torture, floggings, chains, imprisonment. They were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated.

What a minute! Where’s their happily-ever-after? Doesn’t faith always end in victory? It does. But faith’s victory is not always beautiful, shiny happiness. For some, faith’s victory is the gritty perseverance to endure. God proudly claims them as his own and declares, “This world is not worthy of them!” 

I’ve witnessed faith stories. Though she suffers pain and weakness, by faith Theresa continues to live and battle cancer seven years after a stage four breast cancer diagnosis. Seven years! By faith, after early widowhood, Anna single handedly raised nine children—three with special needs. By faith, Judy[2] continues living in physical and emotional pain though regularly tempted to commit suicide. By faith, Belinda shines so brightly for Jesus Christ you’d never guess she was once a homeless drug addict.

Consider Jesus Christ, our ultimate faith hero. His earthly end—the cross—wasn’t pretty. Our salvation hard won through suffering. Like the rest, he never fully realized his Father-God’s promises on earth. Yet one day, Jesus Christ will be crowned King of King and Lord of Lords.

If you’re struggling through doubt or difficulties, take heart. Keep seeking God. Our faith stories aren't finished yet. In the end, the faithful will live happily-ever-after in his kingdom of love. That’s beautiful, shiny happiness!
“All fairy tales, Tolkien argued, echo the gospel of Jesus Christ in some way because the gospel is the true story; it’s the real fairy tale that crashed into the timeline of history.”[3]
Dear Father-God,
Please help our unbelief.
Increase our faith.
Give us the desire to keep seeking you until we find you.
And empower us to live our faith story.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Take it further...
  • Learn more about seeking Jesus at Need Him.
  • Read Hebrews 11 and let it build your faith. 


[1] Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9; Acts 17:24-28
[2] Name changed to protect privacy.
[3] Walking through the Wardrobe by Sarah Arthur, p. xxi.
Hawaii sunset image by my son, Calvin Tustan

Comments

  1. Great post! I appreciated the modern examples as well as the Biblical ones.

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