“Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see” (Hebrews 11:1, CEB).
Faith, according to the writer of Hebrews, comes from knowing something is there because we believe it is there. The Message says “this trust in God is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It is our handle on what we can’t see.”
Today we celebrate a man with a lot of faith and hope. The motivation for Christopher Columbus was probably more financial gain than anything else but it drove him to take one of the greatest adventures in history. We celebrate his life because he had faith in his beliefs and was willing to take a risk—and it paid off, maybe not for what he was looking for but in something far beyond his comprehension.
Although he missed his target by an entire continent and an ocean, he is still remembered as a man who went seeking something he couldn’t yet see but believed it to be true.
Can you imagine the faith of his crew to follow this crazy man across an ocean of storms and unknowns? To travel completely against the accepted practices of the day? I’m sure there were times when they wanted to mutiny and head back home, yet they stayed the course and took the risks into a destination they thought would bring them fame and fortune in the West Indies.
I have often wondered God’s role in this venture. Did He finally feel it was the right time to connect the continents and open up a new country that would one day call him Lord? Was it the right time for His message to leave the European continent and establish a new mission for Christianity in this wild land? Was there something about this time in history that made everything right for this great event? Were those on the other side of his route at the right stage to receive the Gospel message and Columbus was the man to set the stage? All we really know is the landing of Columbus in this new world opened up a whole new chapter in history.
The writer of Hebrews, of course, wasn’t talking about an earthly journey but a spiritual one. Hebrews 11 is known as the Faith Chapter because it recounts the many people of great faith up to that time in history. Its writings are a who’s who list of the Jewish heroes who had been talked about for centuries and ties that history into what it means to follow Jesus Christ with the same kind of faith.
These were the faith heroes. If written today, these people’s images would be carved in stone or cast in bronze and probably end up as action figures. Their faith was touted as proof that living a life of faith is possible.
Imagine the faith of Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his one and only son because God had asked him to do it. Imagine Noah’s faith as he became known by his neighbors as that crazy guy building a boat in his backyard. Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Moses all showed a faith that is the “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.”
How firm is your foundation of faith? What or who do you cling to when life’s roads get bumpy? Who do you turn to when it seems your whole world is falling apart around you? Columbus made it across the ocean because he kept his eye on his goal. Our goal is Jesus Christ. It is in Him we find our “firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Our lives are going to have some storms but our direction can always be found in Jesus Christ.
Columbus and his crew were rewarded for their faith in his ideas by finding an entirely new world. However, what their faith led them to is nothing compared to the new world awaiting you by your faith in God. Be faithful, stay the course, and live your life in God. The rewards are endless.
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