is more important
than this invisible jewel,
this flame inside of you.
Thank God for
the gift of faith,
and nurture it’s growth
until it overflows
out of your soul
like a healing balm
of Divine love.
By the grace of God, this morning I wandered into the book of Hebrews and was so moved.
I have long loved popular passages like Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” and Hebrews 4:12-13 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
I have marveled at the beauty of Hebrews 10: 16 “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds” and Hebrews 13: 2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.“
But I had no idea the rich perspective reading the entire book of Hebrews as a cohesive narrative would provide!
Essentially, it is a gracefully articulate summary of our faith and what to expect when we’re living our faith out based on the experiences of those who have come before us, whose faith is documented in the bible. Reading it felt like a balm for my soul.
I loved every bit of the history and perspective of Christ and the new covenant He created for us with His death and resurrection but was especially touched by the Faith in Action Section starting at Hebrews 11, which lists a simple summary of the faith heroes of the bible and the way their choices out of faith played out throughout their lives in good times and bad.
Reading short summaries of what faith heroes like Moses, Noah and Abraham accomplished with their acts of faith reinvigorated my motivation to persevere in the faith, reminding me of the great gift it is, while so many never encounter the Lord in a powerful way and others lose their trust along the way. It helped me understand on a deeper level the universal spiritual journey and the worth of persevering even if we do not necessarily receive what God has promised to us in the depths of our hearts right away or even in this lifetime.
Hebrews 11 13-16: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
At the end of my life, I wonder what my faith summary would be. Would it be something like: “Out of faith, she answered God’s calling to write, parent and devote herself to prayerful contemplation.”
I also wonder: Will I ever see the fruits of these prayers and efforts in prayer, parenting and writing play out? Or will I be like so many people throughout history who complete their lives without seeing the fruits of their labors come into fruition?
I have no way of knowing! But I have been blessed with some pretty clear directives from the Lord and the book of Hebrews helped motivate me to persevere in these tasks He’s set before me, “welcoming them from a distance” like those of faith, who have come before me, while keeping an eternal perspective of “longing for a better country,” which is really our ultimate heavenly home. This passage affirmed that it’s okay to feel like a “foreigner and stranger on earth” sometimes because as people of faith, our tasks are ultimately for God’s eternal purposes, not our own immediate gratification.
If I have to wait
like a mystical rose
before my eyes,
I’ll still say
Even with my modest talents by saying yes to God and following my calling to write, could I be paving an way for a truly gifted writer in a future generation? Then I would say a wholehearted yes to God right now. What if my “yes” to God to have another baby at 40 is paving the way for a descendant to bring Christ to the world in a way I’m not gifted enough to? Then I would say yes to God right now. What if my devotion to prayer is raining down blessings into the world that God is keeping me blessedly unaware of? Then I would still say a wholehearted Yes to His calling on my life right now.
Hebrews 12 “1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
While my work does not feel very significant or impactful most of the time, and I certainly have my crosses to bear in my walk through life, I have been blessed to encounter the grandeur of God’s presence in my ordinary life as a stay at home mom, while practicing my faith and sharing it through writing. I think that’s what I’m called to do! And I am certainly blessed by encouragement to persevere “in the race marked out” for me through the book of Hebrews today, regardless of outcomes I can tangibly see and know about.
How about YOU? At the end of your life, what would your “by faith …” story be? Are you willing to persevere in faith knowing you may never live to see the fruits of your efforts in this lifetime? Comment below, and I’ll be delighted to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Hebrews 13 20-21 as a gift from my heart to yours: “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
God give us the grace of pure faith and trust in You. Thank You for the inner directives and callings You give each and every one of us us. Help us to clearly perceive Your calling us and respond with faith throughout our lives. Strengthen our resolve to persevere in the faith throughout our lives, whether or not we live to see the blessings that come from our yeses to You. In Jesus name, we pray.
written by Nicky Gant for http://www.uniteinprayer.org 12/12/2019