Saturday, December 12
Faith under fire
Scripture: Hebrews 9-11
Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter—the Hall of Faith! The author defines and describes faith, and then gives example after example from the Old Testament. It is significant that most of the examples involve people doing hard things for God, and obeying God when it was dangerous, risky or difficult.
Near the end of the chapter, the author lists great victories won by faith, but he immediately follows up with stark hardships that were endured by faith: torture; beatings; imprisonment: death by sword, stone or saw; poverty; oppression; homelessness. Their faith was as much on display when it was under fire as when they experienced shining victories.
Faith in God enables us to do great things for God, to obey whatever God calls us to do, and to endure great hardships for God. Faith isn’t a free pass to a pain-free life or guaranteed success, health and wealth. Instead, our relationship with God empowers us for obedience and buoys us through the turbulence.
Hudson Taylor, the famous 19th century missionary to China, wrote, “It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies — whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart.”
Faith doesn’t mean that I live a pressure-free life. It means that I always let the pressure push me closer to God.
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust You so deeply that every pressure only pushes me closer to You.