Our reading today offers a word on the power of faith. The idea is that if there is to be faith, something beyond our senses must pull it into being. In faith, we are being called from despair to hope. To come out of despair sounds liberating, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy process, or that it happens in a linear motion. Being pulled out of faith can be a long journey with high highs and low lows.
When I read about the journey of faith, my mind goes to the Exodus out of Egypt. A simple snapshot of Israelites being liberated from the oppressive tyranny of Egypt sounds good and all, but when you really dive into the story, you are immersed in the despair that happens even when hope is promised. This makes faith hard.
Our own stories of faith can be dashingly similar to wandering in the desert. In my own life, faith in God has felt like watching the Red Sea part right down in the middle, but most days I am an Israelite crying out to the sky asking God why. The desert is hot and there is no food or water in sight… is this really the best way? I’m not sure.
God doesn’t cause bad things to happen so that you’ll trust more, instead, I believe God walks with us through the bad to help us see that liberation might just be around the corner. Our Father knows our needs before we ask, but that doesn’t mean we can’t ask or make our needs known! A child cries and groans when they need to be fed. It’s not this child’s fault they react in this way; this is all they know how to do. In the same way, sometimes the most we can do is cry out like a newborn, hoping we’ll be fed, but not sure when or how.
Faith is hard. The author of our reading today even acknowledges that many of the great examples of faith were unable to see their trust come to fruition. “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” (Hebrews 11:13).
My encouragement for you is to welcome the promises of God but to also welcome the feelings of doubt when you’re walking against the wind in the midst of desert sands. Have some grace for yourself when you’re tired and thirsty and feel that crying out to the sky is all you can do. Faith is hard, but God is good. The goodness of God will be known in your crying.