Father God, You called me into being through Your Spirit. I call on You today, confident that You listen.
Read Hebrews 11:32-40
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“We cannot follow Christ in holiness unless we are willing to stand out from the crowd and swim against the stream” (J.I. Packer).
Living by faith brings its own great moments because such faith is placed in a God of majesty and power. Faith has its own wonderful testimonies of how kingdoms were conquered and justice was administered, how God saved his own from hungry lions, fiery flames and fierce swords. Faith recounts stories of amazing victories and God’s sometimes inscrutable way of turning weakness to strength, surprising both the believer and his opponents (33,34).
But living by faith also brings suffering (35-38). God does miracles, but he is not a magician. He does not always rescue us from our dangerous situations. Therefore, believers have also found themselves in prison and have undergone much physical and other forms of suffering. The list is long: torture, flogging, stoning, persecution, exile, death. Believers have been treated badly in history and continue to suffer in many difficult places today. Why does God allow such suffering in the lives of people who choose to live by faith? The answer has to do with God’s ultimate promises and purposes. He has planned something better and it has to do with our perfection (39,40). God does not always change our circumstances, but he will always use them to change our character (Rom. 5:3,4). Sufferings–in the hands of Satan and others who detest the things of God–are often allowed to fulfill God’s better plans. This calls for stronger and persevering faith (10:36). The clear and more immediate victories that God brings about from time to time assure us that God knows what he is doing, and is in control (John 10:28,29).
Today, there are many believers around the world who have great testimonies of victories and sufferings. They testify to the awesome power and abiding presence of God, and the unchanging purposes of God. The great story of faith continues.
What’s your part in this great story of faith? Praise God for testimonies of his power, and pray for believers who suffer for their faith.
Loving Lord, when I read about the opposition my forefathers and foremothers in the faith faced, my problems seem minor. Be my strength as I stand firm for You.
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