Faith is an essential part of the Christian life. We came to God by faith, we live by faith, all we have is the result of faith.
Faith in God is at the very heart of the Christian experience.
There is a chapter in the bible that speaks exclusively of men and women who lived by faith, trusted God, made choices, built boats...all by faith. They believed God, acted and saw the results of their faith in their lives.
But others (and this is where we struggle with the passage) lived by faith and died, lost everything, struggled, were tortured and seemed to fail.
We have a problem with that because we have adopted the belief that if we have faith good things will happen, prosperity will come, prayers will be answered, mountains will move.
But not for everyone, not all the time.
Some will live by faith and have nothing,
struggle to live at all
and others will lose their lives.
All these things will happen in the lives of people of faith!
How can this be?
Doesn't faith do things?
Doesn't it have good results?
Here are the words from this chapter on faith that we try to ignore,
"There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,"
These were men and women of faith and it appears their faith "didn't work!" But faith is not a gum ball machine...put in your coin and get your prize...it's trust in God with no idea of what will happen next.
It's living with eyes on God regardless of the outcome.
Faith is trust in God. It's not a magic lamp I can use for my desires, but it's a decision to trust in the God who loves me no matter what happens!
So what if I'm one of the "others", those who don't see their faith "work?" What if I trust God and lose everything? I still win! I'm trusting God, even if I have nothing at all, even if I'm tortured, even if I lose my life...I still win and my faith in God will take me into eternity!