There are a number of people who seem to think that if you have enough faith, your life should be all smooth sailing. No health problems, no financial problems, just a happy-go-lucky life.
They apparently have never read this chapter.
Certainly, many of these men and women of faith had their shares of victory. But others were tortured, mocked, flogged, put in chains and imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, went about clothed in sheepskin and goatskin, destitute, afflicted, mistreated, wandering about in deserts, mountains, dens, and caves.
And none of them…I repeat…none of them received their full reward while here on earth.
Were these excoriated for their lack of faith? They would be by a lot of these “faith-teachers” today.
“Why were you destitute? Why were you living out in the desert? God intends for you to be wealthy and prosperous. Clearly you didn’t have enough faith.”
“You were imprisoned and put to death for your faith? Surely if you had had enough faith God would have delivered you.”
“You didn’t receive all the promises of God here on earth? Clearly you didn’t have enough faith or God would have HAD to give it to you.”
But is this what the writer of Hebrews says of them? No.
These were all commended for their faith. (39)
And rather than saying they were not worthy of the good things of life because of their lack of faith, he says,
the world was not worthy of them. (38)
In short, God never promises that if we have enough faith, we’ll just sail through life. All of chapter 12 as we’ll see says just the opposite.
Life can be hard. We may suffer despite our faith.
But what a life of faith means is that though this life may be hard, we see beyond those hardships to the reward that awaits us. The writer of Hebrews tells us,
God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (40)
Through Christ, all the saints of old along with us will be made perfect, free from sin forever. And at that time, when all things are made new, all sorrow and suffering will be a thing of the past. And that’s what faith ultimately looks to. Not to the joys we experience on this earth (although God in his grace does give us that too). But to the joys of life with him in eternity.
How about you? Are you expecting that your faith will lead to an easy life here on earth? God never promises that. But what he does promise is that if you keep your eyes on the promise of eternity, you will ultimately not be disappointed.
To what are you looking to?