Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (verse 1)
These words grip me. So simple, yet so deeply stretching and challenging.
“Sure of what we hope for.”
It reminds me of being on the final station of a ropes course at a camp I love. I’d arrived at a circular platform, only big enough for my feet, hugging a tree trunk about 10 meters above the ground. The final action required of me was to leap out to grab hold of a trapeze suspended a meter and a half from the platform. It looked doable. It was, of course, 10 meters above the ground! But, nonetheless, I went for it, managing to get both hands on the bar, barely, before I realized that the strength of my grip was no match for gravity’s downward pull on my body. Down I went.
But it didn’t matter, because I was in a harness, with safety rope held by a skilled belayer at the bottom of the tree, who securely arrested my fall, lowering me gently to the ground. I’d been sure of the guy at the bottom. Before ever I’d leaped, I was sure.
I like that image because it stretches me into faith. Am I sure of the Lord? Am I sure of what he’s promised, all that I hope for? If so, leap. Or, changing the image, lean back into his purposes, throwing fear aside and, through faith, doing the very next thing he calls me to, right here, right now. Because I’m sure.
“Certain of what we do not see.”
I’m reminded of that scene in the Indiana Jones movie where Indie takes a “leap of faith” in his pursuit of the Holy Grail. Standing on one side of an immeasurably deep chasm, about 20 meters wide, Indie steps out with unbelievable certainty into apparent nothingness, but lands, just a short step down, on solid support. The camera angle changes, and we see that there is, in fact, a meter-wide beam, deceptively camouflaged and spanning the whole chasm. Being certain of what he could not see, Indiana Jones demonstrates the tangible reality of faith by stepping out.
Of course, faith is bigger than an adventure film. And certainty is more certain yet when grounded in the Lord. The Heroes-of-Faith Hall of Fame which follows in Hebrews 11 gives ample illustration of this certainty beyond sight. Indeed, so many of those commended to us never did in fact see what they hoped for. Yet, they continued stepping out in faith, hanging on to the certainty of the promise God had placed in their hearts.
“All of 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” (verse 13).
I want to be like that. Not put off by what I don’t yet see. Even if I never see it.
Sure. Certain. What we hope for. What we do not see.
Lord, give me faith. I want to live sure, leaning fully into you. I want to live certain, even when I can’t see. To your glory.
Reflect: What long-time prayer have you not yet seen answered? Ask the Lord to renew faith, to restore certainty even when you can’t see.