Toward the end of life we wrestle with our horizons, with our limitations, and we are tempted to become cynical or even to despair. It feels as though we “did not receive what was promised; we only saw it and welcomed it from a distance,” (Heb. 11:13). Our hope is in knowing that we have always been only a part of a story that is much larger than us. Here we must act intentionally to empower the next generation to continue the same story. For them, as for us, the story is larger than a single generation and the point is never the player but the promise.
Who will take care of me? How will I be safe? Life is uncertain and most of it falls between the answers. The slave seeks certainty and control, but the child leaves what is obvious and secure and walks into the unknown. Like Abraham, we are called to “go to a place . . . even though we do not know where we are going.” We are called to live in between the “leaving” (Gen. 12:1) and the “arriving” (Gen. 12:5), between the already and the not yet, building altars along the way until one day, we finally get home.
So often, as we grow in our walks with Christ, we ask God to increase our faith. We desire to see evidence of God at work around us so that we have greater assurance and reason to believe in his authority and power. But the author of Hebrews tells us that faith comes before proof—that it grows in the absence of something, rather than just in its manifestation. If this is true, then perhaps we must be intentional to cast off or give up things that prevent our faith from growing.
“…Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:2b
“It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. Their weakness was turned to strength… others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection… they were too good for this world…”