And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
It was one of those picturesque days at the beach. Beautiful and deserted. So, we decided to try something new. We gathered a pile of sand near an unmanned lifeguard stand. It was only a few steps up, but for an 11-year-old, it might as well have been jumping off the Empire State Building. I climbed and jumped – the unstable sand cushioning my fall. And then, with my friends, I repeated that for the next few hours. Faith feels like that jump. Life feels like that sand. If that’s the case, what is the lifeguard stand? What is the steady foundation that we jump off? What is the stabilizing factor in the midst of it all?
The author of Hebrews brought his readers on a journey of faith. He recounted many prolific heroes who lived by faith. He invited his readers to dwell on the actions they took in defiance of cultural-norms and worldly pursuits. Then, he honestly admitted that sometimes faith led to seeing God do the miraculous, and other times faith meant walking to a brutal death (Hebrews 11:32-38). He ended by pointing to the lifeguard tower. His conclusion pointed the reader to the foundation they stood on in an unstable world. He wrote, “39And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40). They didn’t receive what was promised, but they got something better. God outdid himself. They got God. They received redemption. The inherited sonship and eternity.
The life of faith requires us to embrace circumstantial uncertainty, while remaining grounded in eternal security. While we have no idea what tomorrow may bring, we know for certain that our destiny is resurrection life and relationship with our good God. Our God is a promise maker and promise keeper. His promise to us is that we will be “made perfect” and that we will live with him – the perfect One. When we understand the reality of our eternal destiny, we are freed to jump off into the temporal unknown. Today, remind yourself of the foundation your entire life rests upon. Reread Hebrews 11:39-40. Listen to the song The Lord Our God. Considering your foundation, what jump is God inviting you to make?
By Ryan Paulson