It is election time in Ottawa, for our city councillors and mayor, and the candidates’ signs are popping up along the roadways and front lawns like dandelions! This is always lots of cynicism among voters, on hearing a candidate’s vision and promises: “I’ll believe it when I see it” is the common refrain. It is a hope that our elected representatives will see the good, and do it, but it is a secular hope. In our Scriptures, spiritual hope pushes out cynicism, based on God’s wonderful promises, because those who know God in certainty can say, “I’ll believe it first, and then see it!”.
The book of Hebrews was written to persecuted, discouraged Christians, whose hope was fading. ~Now faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (NKJV) What famous words these are: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”! It is teaching to boost our courage and endurance; just as our eyes testify to what we see around us, faith is like an organ that delivers evidence of the unseen spiritual world. Those spiritual realities are what really matter, and are just as real as physical realities. If you could see and touch God’s eternal and spiritual world, why would you need faith?
Our fathers in faith, the elders of the Old Testament differed in personality and circumstances, but their faith was the cord that tied them together; they were willing to trust in God, even when the seen realities seemed grim. People in Jesus’ day, and in our tumultuous times, are often discouraged and tempted to give up on the Lord but need, more than ever, testimonies of the faithful. Consider Abel’s difficult example: he offered a sacrifice that pleased God because it was done in faith, but was killed by his brother before Abel saw his reward. What grief and despair Adam and Eve must have endured! Yet, God Himself testified of Abel’s faith, and the greater reward is that Abel’s faith still reminds us of the value of faithful obedience and a reward in heaven, with God forever.
II Corinthians 4:18 Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. This is why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen. (CEV) Rather than sink into cynicism, demanding proofs that can be seen and measured, won’t you today determine to keep your mind on the things that cannot be seen, that is, all that we hope for as we in faith celebrate the promises of God? Prayer: Dear Lord, our faith often waivers and discouragement creeps in, and we pray that the testimony of your faithful servants will lift our hearts and spirits to celebrate Your righteousness and eternal rewards. Amen.