“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen is not made out of what is visible.”
Hebrews 11: 1-3 (New International Version)
I am writing our first Fall Devotion on September 11th – a day that fills us with sorrow and memories. Those of us who were alive on that day remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news of the first terrorist attack on the continental United States. We are also in the sixth month of a pandemic and the number of lives lost has crossed 190,000.
If those things weren’t enough to send us into a downward spiral, it has also rained for 4 straight days! AND I sit at my dining room table surrounded by boxes and bags and return address labels because I ordered several Mother of the Bride outfits on-line and now they must be returned, except of course, for the one finally chosen!
Life can be exhausting and overwhelming. Many of you have even bigger reasons for feeling exhausted and overwhelmed – things that go far beyond rain and the return of mother of the bride outfits. Things that even go beyond the pandemic. These days ask us to dig deep for hope and faith.
The writer of the letter of Hebrews was seeking to instill hope and confidence in his readers. All of chapter 11 and into the beginning of 12, he recounts the faith of our forbearers. He does this to encourage those feeling afraid, lonely, isolated, exhausted and overwhelmed. When he gets to the beginning of chapter 12 he talks about how we are encouraged to run our race with perseverance, knowing that these forbearers who made it through extremely challenging times by holding onto faith – faith that is the assurance of what we cannot see.
Hold onto your faith, my dear friends. I will hold on, too. By holding each other up through prayer we will continue to run our race, in spite of the overwhelming challenges we all face today.
Prayer: Holy God, grant us strength for each new day. Help us to face the challenges of our lives, knowing that you hold us secure. Remind us of our forbearers and encourage us to live with perseverance and hope. Amen.