“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (1)
When we are assail by doubts – when perils and troubles overtake us – our emotions are on the fringe…what do we do? When we are left feeling helplessly distraught; where is our hope? In times like these we must ask ourselves, “where is the faith I claim?” We need to resort back to what we know is true and speak this into our hearts. Christ is true! In Him, a better day is coming despite the difficulty. We too can rekindle our hope as we look to the future. Let’s take a look at some of the saints of faith who were looking ahead.
“…for he [Abraham] was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God…but as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (2)
Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah are prime examples of saintly people who lived by faith as they kept an eye on eternity. Those Old Testament sojourners had tenacity, and moved with persistence, and determination. It marked their lives forever! While they suffered they looked ahead to a better place being prepared for them…an eternal home in glory.
The Bible shares scores of rich stories of saintly pilgrims of faith who have gone through crisis after crisis. They too experienced despair but they never gave up. They reserved “a hope in heaven” which supplied the strength to preserve. Another New Testament example is the apostle Paul who suffered intensely. His faith was built on solid ground – Christ crucified. He saw his suffering as a chance to share the love of God. While in prison he labored all the more effectively using his energy and time for God’s purposes. Also their is Job whose pain was accumulated by loss of family, possessions and health. At the end of the chapter Job gave the greatest declaration, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eyes see You.” The nearness of God’s presence gave strength as he forged ahead through sorrow. Personal intimacy with God kept him secure.
Lastly, we can note the heroes of faith in the hall of fame, from Hebrews 11. “And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight…and others experienced mocking and scourging, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…” (2)
These godly saints stood for faith with explicit trust. With an eye on heaven they ran the race of life with unwavering commitment.
1. Hebrews 11:1 2. Hebrews 11:10, 16 3. Hebrews 11:32-34; 36-37
lAll Scripture is taken from the nas