"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
This is how Hebrews 11 starts out--the great faith chapter, going through person after person who had faith in an invisible God and did the crazy things that he asked them to do. Chapter 12 then explains that all of these stories are supposed to encourage us so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.
I find myself going back to Hebrews 11 over and over for just that reason. There were so many times in the last few years, living by faith, that I have been weary and at the verge of losing heart. There are still so many times when I question whether it is worthwhile to walk by faith in the way that I have been. Is it worth quitting a prestigious job so that I can work for myself and have all this time to do ministry? Is it worth living in a blue-collar neighborhood to be close to the people I'm serving as a court-appointed defense attorney? Is there really an invisible kingdom of God being built--that city that Hebrews 11 says whose builder and maker is God--and am I really a part of it? Is our Sunday night group really, really building into people and making a difference in their lives in a positive way? Are all the things I've sacrificed or put off experiencing in life worth sacrificing to do and be the things that I've been doing and being? Were all the sacrifices my dad made to be in ministry all his life really worth it?
It's just all so intangible. There are moments when I can see--where I can actually see what is going on and that God is moving and that people's lives are being changed. But those moments are so fleeting. And in between them I don't have anything to hold on to but faith in the One who I believe is working and moving. But he is also intangible.
I used to be a quilter... so even though I couldn't see any tangible changes in the world or the people around me, at least I could see a quilt coming together. Somehow that made it better, if only for a moment. This week I posted a couple of pictures in my bathroom that some of the Sunday night folks drew in response to our Sunday night questions. I'm thinking that maybe seeing those every day will remind me that people really are growing and changing in a positive way because of God and how he's using me in their lives. But it's a struggle. It's been such a struggle.
How do you deal with that intangibility of walking by faith?