I love Hebrews 11. It feels the greatest pep talk for Christianity I can imagine, and simultaneously the greatest paradox of our faith because it’s also the worst pep talk ever. The whole chapter recounts unmet promises, tragic separations and loneliness and persecution.
Sounds terrible, right? Not really. Because at the same time, there’s a beautiful story that is weaving in each man and woman’s life. Faith – this great and mysterious element to Christianity is something they are ultimately rewarded for. In fact, it says simply “the world was not worthy of them.”
“All these people where still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens 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. 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.”
I love this. Like as believers in Christ, we live with a tangible knowledge that we are just passing through. This is NOT it. Burlap to Cashmere sums it up well in this song (which also happens to be one of my all-time favourites):
I think one of the things I love about this message is that it remains the same whether things are good or bad in life. In high times – when life is full and rich – there’s this promise of purpose and something greater. And when things are really low and hard and we’re weary in the trenches – that same promise helps us cling to a life after this one… and reminds us that “God is not ashamed to be called our God, for he has prepared a city for us.”
I take great comfort in this chapter, and it spurs me forward. No matter what physical country we find ourselves in, no matter what emotional state we are in, if we cling to the faith in a God that is bigger and doing something bigger than ourselves, we can have great hope.
What a powerful thing that is.
PS – Check out the new page on my site called “Quotes” for some ongoing inspirational snippets!