"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . . ."
Hebrews 11 starts there, and then goes on to tell story after story of people who had faith in an unseen God and risked everything to follow him.
The problem I see is that we don't even have hope in today's culture. The people I meet are hungry for something to hope for and to hold onto. We all see the brokenness of the world around us. We're unhappy with the unethical and unjust systems that control our community. We're devastated by the lack of care society has for the earth and for the people on it. And everywhere we look, things are only getting worse--never better.
That passage in Hebrews 11 is meant to inspire and encourage people to have faith enough to walk with God. I recently was going through the Old Testament, and I was stuck on the story of Noah for a while. We come into the story just when God is telling Noah to build this monstrous boat to float on the water after rain, which Noah had never in his life seen before.
My question is this: How did Noah know that it was God asking him to do it? How did he discern that this is what he was supposed to do? How did he have the guts to actually get to work to do this crazy thing? It's amazing. And inspiring. And challenging.
I think that hope comes from seeing lives transformed by the story and the power of God. I recently attended a conference where Marton Hall spoke about his faith community, the Awakenings Movement, in Houston, Texas. I was incredibly inspired by his willingness to step outside of the box, sacrifice the security of his prior churchified life, and risk loving and living in a way that's actually reaching a community that is not otherwise being reached. His story inspired me to have hope and to want to walk forward in those things that God is calling me to do during this particular time in my life.
What I don't understand is why those stories of transformation and total willingness to follow God's leading are so few and far between. Maybe we just aren't comfortable sharing the stories of how God has transformed us. Maybe all it will take to inspire others to get up and walk forward in risk and surrender is to tell those stories of how we were called and how God met us and provided for us in that calling.
With that in mind, how has your life been transformed by God's leading and his work in your life?