“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” (Hebrews 11:13)
Hebrews Chapter 11 is know as the “Great Hall of Faith” chapter because it recounts those who had tremendous faith – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. I remember this chapter so well because it was read at my mom’s funeral. One of the things I remember most about my mom was her steadfast faith. Despite her 9 year battle with cancer, her love of God remained intact and grew stronger over the years. Like so many in the Bible, my mom showed me that in the midst of adversity, we can still have faith that God is in control, and I’m so thankful she modeled that for me.
I have read this chapter several times, but this was the first time that verse 13 really stuck out to me. These “heroes of the faith” never received what God promised them. Instead, God gave them a glimpse of how He would fulfill that promise in the future. For example, God promised Abraham that his offspring would be more numerous than the stars. Abraham never got to see that, but he did get to experience his son Isaac being born and then being saved (God told Abraham to sacrifice his son and at the last moment provided a ram instead). Those instances must have encouraged Abraham’s faith.
While I have faith that God knows what is best for me and is in control, what glimpses of promises to be fulfilled is He currently giving me? What glimpses has He given you? I pray that He opens my eyes to see those moments so that my faith grows stronger. I may not see the final outcome, but I can have assurance that God has and will continue to work through all the details. When I take my last breath, I want to have lived a life full of love (for God and others) and of faith.