Living Bible (TLB)
13 These men of faith I have mentioned died without ever receiving all that God had promised them; but they saw it all awaiting them on ahead and were glad, for they agreed that this earth was not their real home but that they were just strangers visiting down here. 14 And quite obviously when they talked like that, they were looking forward to their real home in heaven.
15 If they had wanted to, they could have gone back to the good things of this world. 16 But they didn’t want to. They were living for heaven. And now God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has made a heavenly city for them
I know you’re out there.
For forty years I sat across from my patients and women in my church, and listened. Listening to stories of failure and disappointment, I found there are many hearts in need of encouragement.
The stories I heard broke the heart of God; I know because they broke mine.
Seasons pass and change, bringing new issues, problems, situations, and people into life. The troubles we experience today will pass and change. But, is the strength and stamina required to survive within us?
If life is looked at under a microscope, daily analyzing developments and progress, the conclusion arrived at can be painfully skewed. In order to obtain perspective, a withdrawal from close inspection helps us step back and view a larger picture. The view seen on the ground is limited from what can be seen at altitude.
So, where can we find the strength and stamina to survive?
In the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11, the writer explains that these faithful died without seeing the reality of their dreams come to pass in their lives.
Because they were human, I have to believe they struggled in many of the same areas I and others do. I wonder if I’ll ever be free from doubt and disappointment, even though I strive to serve God. How did they do it?
Hebrews says the faithful died in faith, without receiving the promises. When I hear the burdens of other’s hearts, I seek to adopt the aerial view of their life so I can see their final destination: a better place, a country of their own, or the Heavenly City awaiting the faithful.
These people could have returned home. They could have thrown in the towel and proclaim it’s too hard to be on God’s road.
They could have cut and run, looking back over their shoulder at a life not tuning out as expected and snuggled back into a place of familiarity and apparent safety.
Yet, they looked into the distance, straining for a glimpse of something better. The promises of God were real, as if they were right in front of them.
Realizing that as strangers in a fallen world, they were only travelers on a road that leads straight to a God who has already walked ahead of us.
Therefore, the scripture assures us, God is not ashamed to be called our God. He has prepared a place for us. You have your name written on a place card at His table.
The tribulations of this life will pale in comparison to the glory that waits.
Mount up, dear Pilgrim, and take a long look ahead toward the Heavenly City. Realize you are in a great company of exiles who have gone ahead, having suffered the common trials of (wo)man. You are not alone.
The next time you have your nose over the microscope of your life, step back and accept God’s strength as your own. Remind yourself: I am only passing through. Your trial today does not define you for eternity. The only thing that does is your relationship to One who loves you enough to have died in your place, guaranteeing you a home in His Heavenly City.