Lives of Faith

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Hey friend! I'm Liz
I'm committed to helping you discover a daily practice of meaningful spirituality so that you can live a fulfilling and courageous life.
I'm committed to helping you discover a daily practice of meaningful spirituality so that you can live a fulfilling and courageous life.
“Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised.”
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is often paraded as the hall of fame for faith heroes. People who stayed the course, kept the faith, were hopeful and expectant despite all the odds.

It begins with:

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 MSG).

And then it goes on to talk about the faith of Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and more; How they did this by faith and that by faith. All the way down to the last verse of the chapter, which says:

Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” (11:39-40.)

These guys had faith, hope, and expectations… But the writer of Hebrews said that none of them got what they were promised.

 

“God comes into the world in always-surprising ways so that the sincere seeker will always find, and those on lazy cruise control will find nothing. Is sincere seeking perhaps the real meaning of walking in darkness and faith?

Powerful, two minute reads that have helped change the script in thousands of people's lives.

OK, so. Either faith is a rip-off, or something else is going on here.

SIDE NOTE: I am lumping faith, hope, and expectation in the same basket. Even though they aren’t exactly all the same thing, they are intrinsically connected. Roll with it, cool? Back to the devotion.

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a future and a hope for his people. The word ‘hope' used by the writer of Jeremiah is the Hebrew word “Tiqvah,” which means ‘to expect and wait for a particular outcome.' For the ancient Hebrews, words had meanings, but so did the letters that made up that word, and those meanings were connected. Tiqvah (pronounced tik-vaw), is made up of the characters Tav, Qoph, Vav, Ha. Their definitions:

Tav: the total sum of truth and perfection.
Qoph: holiness and growth cycle.
Vav: to add completion and redemption.
Ha: to reveal life and light, through the breath inside of you.

Hope.

Maybe these men and women listed in Hebrews as great heroes of faith didn’t get what they thought they were promised. Maybe they still experienced defeat and disappointment and heartache and failure. Maybe things didn’t physically turn out the way they expected them to. But maybe, through their experiences, they found truth tucked into the corners. Perhaps they came across holiness and growth. Even though the going was difficult, maybe they discovered redemption and completion. And through it all, the thing they learned to expect the most was the life and light of The Christ (or as the mystics and desert fathers would say: The Christos), breathing in and through them no matter what.

Because that's what hope does. It takes us beyond the physical expectations that we dream up in our minds and teaches us that in the unexpected we can still expect Divine Presence. Faith is our handle on what we can’t see. 

It’s knowing that the ocean heals, that mountain air purifies, that love is the foundation and nucleus of all life. We can’t see it, but it's something that we know.

God comes into the world in always-surprising ways so that the sincere seeker will always find, and those on lazy cruise control will find nothing. Is sincere seeking perhaps the real meaning of walking in darkness and faith?” (Richard Rohr, Evidence, Huffington Post.)

The search for truth, love, and God are the same search. You may not find what you expect, but you can indeed expect to find.

Written by Liz Milani

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