S (Scripture): Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he lived in the land he had been promised as a stranger. He lived in tents along with Isaac and Jacob, who were coheirs of the same promise. 10 He was looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith even Sarah received the ability to have a child, though she herself was barren and past the age for having children, because she believed that the one who promised was faithful. 12 So descendants were born from one man (and he was as good as dead). They were as many as the number of the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore.
O (Observation): Faith is the result of God making promises and fulfilling those promises. Here, the author of Hebrews shows how God made good on promises to Abraham and Sarah, and the resulting actions made based on faith.
God promised Abraham that a new place would exist to which he and Sarah could go. God promised that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars, as the grains of sand on the beach.
Abraham and Sarah never could see the fullness of God’s promises…but then, many never do. That doesn’t mean that the promises are not kept…just that we might not see the promises fulfilled with our own eyes.
A (Application): How often do we see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our own time?
We see some promises fulfilled. Others, we must trust that God sees them through.
Often, we must recall the promises made by God to those in former times in order to see that God has been faithful. We look to Abraham and Sarah, and see promises fulfilled. We look to the dark ages, and see how monks and many others kept the faith. We look to modern natural disasters and see God in the response efforts. We see God comforting the afflicted in the wake of a mass shooting – the worst in US history.
What a challenging line of succession to follow. Seeing God’s promises fulfilled is tricky work sometimes, in the midst of the hazy fog of mass murder and natural disasters.
In times like these, the long view is necessary. We can feel like our small individual actions don’t amount to much. But when we see God giving us strength, those small acts of love are effective, indeed.
This is faith: doing the thing God called you to do. And trusting that God will make it effective.
Go. Do. Pray.
P (Prayer): Lord, you call us out through faith to love and serve our neighbors. Be with us. Amen.