“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1–2, NIV84)
This often quoted verse has been open to much misapplication and misunderstanding. Too many people attach this verse to a faith that blindly clings to that which we cannot see and thus has no evidence. This just isn’t the case. Of course our faith has to cling to hope in something we don’t see, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence for such a faith. Here is what I mean. The ancients did not blindly leap into the darkness with their faith. Actually, they lived lives in which God made himself evident to them constantly. It was this constant evidence that moved them to have faith even when they didn’t have the evidence. They had to believe that God would be as faithful about what they could not see as He was about all the things they could see. For example, God faithfully provided for every aspect of Abraham’s life but one. The son promised to Abraham was not coming. Decades had passed and still this promise was not fulfilled. Even though Abraham was 100 years old, he still believed that God was going to fulfill His promise. Why? How? Because God was faithful to all the other promises He had made to Abraham! The ancients learned to surrender their wills to the will of God. They learned that God’s timing was not always the same as theirs. But God would always do what He promised in His own time. The ancients are commended for their faith and certain hope in God’s faithfulness.
So, what about you and me? Are we willing to believe in God’s faithfulness even when we don’t see His promises being fulfilled like we think they should be fulfilled? Are we willing to trust that God has everything in control? My friends, we have the evidence of God’s faithfulness, not only to ourselves, but to all the ancients who have gone before us. They actually become part of the evidence that moves us to have hope in what we do not see. The ancients hoped in the Messiah to come but never saw Him in their lifetimes. We are blessed enough to live after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Messiah is not someone hoped for but someone already come. He already came and redeemed us just as God promised. Are there still things we have to hope in even though we don’t have evidence of them? I guess the answer is yes, but the number of things grows less and less as we move closer to the day in which Jesus returns.
May we join the ancients with a bold, certain faith of what we hope for, even if we currently don’t see it.