“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things
not seen. Indeed, by faith…By faith…By faith…”
The entire 11th chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews is a “By faith” chapter…the words “by faith” appear nearly 20 times in this inspiring text. If you read, listen or watch the daily news on a regular basis, it is easy to fall into the trap of feeling hopeless about our present and future place in the world.
Ernie Campbell was a visiting professor when I was in seminary and he was fond of saying, “We don’t know enough to be hopeless.” I think those are timeless and prophetic words that go well with this “faith” chapter in Hebrews.
The writer of Hebrews portrays faith in God as a source of infinite strength that enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things in the midst of discouraging and seemingly hopeless situations. By recounting the situations of people of faith through the ages, who faced great odds and obstacles, the writer passes on a crucial message to the early followers of Christ and to us today as we struggle to stay faithful and hopeful in difficult and tragic situations.
In some of the devotional reading I was doing, one writer pointed out that the message of Jesus was clear: Faith in God and love always supersedes violence and division. The writer said, “In my better moments I always want to bring reconciliation, unity, and peace to every community of which I am a part. And when I become too frightened by the risk of doing so I remember that Jesus demonstrated that faith and love always trumps violence and division.”
In this week, may we live in hopefulness as we live by faith!