For by it [faith in what is unseen], the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:2
How would you like to be remembered as a person of great faith? Yet, I believe we idealize what that looks like and never picture our biblical heroes as having the kind of faith that had fragile overtones. We do not picture them begging Yahweh for the strength to trust and move forward. So much is missing in their stories. We’re told, more often than not, about what they did rather than how they felt. From one verse to the next, a decade might have passed, and we are not given a peak into what the years were like.
Hannah ~ She is at the temple. She is ridiculed by her family, she is distraught and she is barren. She brings her broken soul to God and while praying, Eli, the priest, suspects that she is drunk. She explains her plight and he announces the birth of her coming child. It is not said that she doubted but how could she not! All she knew was barrenness and the feelings of having been cursed by God. Yet, by faith, she dug deeply to rise up and immediately sing a version of the Magnificat.
David – He is small, still a boy. Yet, he is outraged at the blasphemy and taunting coming from the camp of the Philistines. By faith, he comes forward to challenge Goliath. What were his thoughts after he volunteered, after some moments passed, as he picked up a series of small stones? What did he think when he beheld the size of his opponent? Yet, he dug deeply and loaded his slingshot.
Joseph – He loves Mary. He knows her character but is presented with news of her pregnancy. He knows the law and the expectations of those around him. Put Mary away! But he dreams and is told that Mary is pregnant by the Spirit of God. Who has heard of such a thing! Yet, He dug deeply to trust God in a way in which no one had trusted Him before.
John the Baptist – He is peculiar. He stands out and is misunderstood. He preaches a message given only to him but then his faith is shaken. He is imprisoned after taking a stand before an unrighteous king. In a weak moment, he sends word to Jesus to ask if He, indeed, is the one he has been waiting for or is Jesus someone else? Yet, Jesus says that never has there been one like John, possessing a faith that burns and shines.
Jesus – Yes, Jesus had to learn obedience and had to learn to walk by faith too. His life and ministry, all the way to the cross, meant moment-by-moment strengthening from God. The night before His arrest, while agonizing in prayer, He asked for another way other than the cross. God met Jesus in His despair and strengthened him. He dug deeply and offered up Himself.
Jesus said to Thomas ~ “Blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet believed.” That’s for you. That’s for me. Though he needed visible proof, he dug deeply in response to Jesus’ appearance. He went on to India to shake the nation with the Gospel. He was martyred for it. How will the rest of my story be told?
I dig deeply in my places of blindness. Give me grace this day to believe and act upon it outrageously. Amen