I am in Hebrews Eleven in today’s Bible reading. I found several things in this passage. First of all, this passage is where the famous verse “now faith is the essence of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen” is found. I love this verse because it resonates so well with my spirit. I am a very logically based person, which gets in the way of faith at times. But I have found that faith is kind of like a muscle that grows when it is worked out. Just like we test out strength while weight training, we must test our faith, not to prove God, or even tempt God, but so that God can reveal to us Himself and our potential.
Toward the end of the chapter, I believe verse thirteen, there is also a verse that I really like. The chapter had just listed several examples of people of faith, their circumstances, and how faith was demonstrated in their circumstance. Then it says “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed from a distance…”
I think the reason this caught my attention is because we live in a society that emphasizes instant gratification. We see what we want, and we want it now. God is not a fairy godmother, granting wishes as soon as you ask for them, the Church is not Burger King, where you have it your way, and faith is not always rewarded or manifested instantaneously.
All these people that were listed are examples of faith, but as this verse states, they all died while living in faith. They didn’t actually receive or enjoy the benefits of their faith; they only saw it from afar and welcomed it.
Do we have that kind of patience? Are we willing to let others benefit from out labor of faith? I am reminded of the passage in James that says we should count it all a joy when we face various trails and tribulation because they are working out our patience. Further, it says we should allow patience to have its perfect work within us, for the result will be that we lack nothing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a lot of room for improvement in both faith and patience.