Upward Faith

With last week bearing Thanksgiving, I’ve gotta be honest, I felt far from thankful on a holiday that’s renowned for thankfulness and gratefulness here in America.

It just felt off in so many ways. My brother and his family were in quarantine at the last minute and unable to join us at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, another half of our family celebrated out of town and it didn’t work for us to go, and the large Witt Thanksgiving lunch we have the Saturday after every Thanksgiving holiday (where always more than fifty gather) couldn’t happen due to Covid number-restrictions.

Side-note: I feel like writing this whole post on how sick and tired I am of Covid and everything it entails but I’ll refrain because this whole thing would turn dark real quick and that’s the opposite of my point.

Over the past few weeks my morning Bible reading has been in Hebrews and I’m now at chapter 11. As a reminder this is the chapter known as the “Hall of Faith.” Versus 4 through 12 note the commendable faith of ‘Bible heroes’ such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah.

It’s versus 13 through 16, however, that have really captured my heart:

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The things they were promised — the acquiring of the land of Canaan, the consummating of numerous descendants, the Messiah in the flesh — they never saw these things fulfilled in their lifetime. BUT, and this is the motivating and inspirational piece for me, they embraced the idea and strong belief that one day those things would come to fruition, even if it meant not seeing them happen in their present time. Referring to themselves as ‘foreigners and nomads here on earth’ they trusted in greater blessings by longing for a ‘better place, a heavenly homeland.’

None of them were perfect people, but they also didn’t have their faith hung up by unanswered hopes and earthly letdowns. Rather they held onto heavenly hope that God would one day fulfill their desired promises — and because of that we read their names in Hebrews 11 pointing straight to their encouraging faith.

You guys, we are in the same boat as those mentioned above. As believers who hold onto faith in God, His ways, and His words we trust that this is absolutely not our world to find contentment and fulfillment in. Our faith is in a God who is so much bigger than the issues and hardships we’re facing. Even if it’s just petty whining over broken holiday traditions — God is still moving, but at His will and His perfect timing. His leading has the power to take our focus away from earthly discouragement.

For me, I know I can’t get so selfish as to think of last week’s Thanksgiving from a place of my own “deserved” comfort.

True Thanksgiving points me to Christ and His home.

Disappointment doesn’t line up with faith and when I choose to be optimistic, realizing that this earth and even a holiday fixed on counting blessings isn’t the real object of true blessing, then I turn my eyes to Jesus — trusting and believing that in Him lies the real hope. It’s in Him where my faith is tied, knowing this life and all of it’s surprises (good and bad) are so far from the true goodness and rich blessings found in our permanent Heavenly home…just the same reassuring faith we find in the lives of those mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11.

With that, I can thank God passionately (no matter the circumstances) for His word and my trust in Heavenly faith — for His purpose.