Currently, our church is going through a series of messages about ordinary people who were made extraordinary by their faith. I say ordinary because, on the surface, these men and women didn't appear to have anything exceptional going for them. Their names are found in Hebrews 11. We have chosen to focus on some of the lesser known individuals--Abel, Enoch, Rahab, Barak, Jephthah--not exactly the Who's Who among biblical characters. But just like some of the giants of the Christian faith, these people made a huge impact within their world by living lives filled with faith.
16Everything depends on having faith in God, so that God's promise is assured by his great kindness. Romans 4:16 CEV
I love those first few words. Get this...your relationships, your future, your effectiveness at fulfilling your promise all depend on faith. All of it; not just some of it. Who you and I are is transformed into who you and I can be by our willingness to trust God. I thought about that recently as I had the opportunity to talk with a middle-aged woman about the loss of her spouse. They had been married for many years and his death was a sudden and unexpected one. Although this had happened several years ago, she was stuck in her grief over his loss. About 30 minutes into our conversation, I said to her, "Here are your options. You can spend the rest of your life stuck in the past or you can believe that God has something more for you to do with your future. You can't do both." There was complete silence on the other end as she pondered that statement. Finally she said, "I know that's true but I just am not there yet." Today, she's still living with the past.
I don't care what your situation is right now--anger, guilt, fear, bitterness, shame, etc.--the only way to move to the next step in your life is by faith. Abel did it when he worshipped. Enoch did it as he walked with God. Rahab did it when she protected the spies of Israel, forsaking her own safety. Every person who has ever made a difference did so because they believed God--faith. Faith, the Bible tells us, can move mountains. Many of us read that and say, "Okay, but I don't have mountains to move." No, but God has something for you specifically to do, some purpose to fulfill. And, it can ONLY be done with faith. God's promise is assured by your belief in that promise. Your faith honors God; God honors your faith. What's next for you in your life? Rest assured that it will only come by faith.