“Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” – Hebrews 11:39
Written by Rev. Brandon Durán
The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews is often referred to as the Hall of Faith. Noah, Sarai, Moses, and more are listed as the superstars of faithfulness. They trusted God. They acted on God’s promises. They moved, risked, and gave their all because they believed. And at the end of the Hall of Fame of faith the scripture says, “Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing.”
Some might read this as an indictment of faith, evidence that faith “doesn’t work.” So much of our lives are transactional that it is easy to think God is transactional, too. If I have faith and do what God says then I will get the things I want.
The ending of Hebrews 11 fills me with hope. It reminds me that I am part of something greater than myself. It says we, you and me, are part of the way God makes good on the promises of the past. And the promises spoken over our lives will be brought to life years from now. I love the reminder that we are connected to infinity and a perspective that far exceeds our own. It puts our questions and struggles and joys into a grand narrative.
I find that I get into trouble when listening to a small story. The story of my needs, my wants, my work, my pain, will always be a smaller story than our hopes, our longings, our dreams, our needs. And the largest story is God’s vision, God’s kingdom. When I try to look at life through the lens of a large story, I find comfort and clarity.
It’s OK that I may not see the ways God’s promises will come about. I know they will come about and I can do my part in preparing subsequent generations to celebrate God’s faithfulness.