Let’s celebrate all together Christmas Eve! Learn more

Young man looking up holding his hat

“Will I make it through this?” That’s a question I’m sure many of us have been wondering about lately. I know I have. There are moments when one thing piles up with another, and it feels never-ending! It feels like we’re suffocating under the stress, anxiety, or pain that we’re experiencing, and for the most part, it’s unseen by everyone else. We feel alone, isolated, sometimes abandoned. The time we spend with God feels silent; it’s like He’s not even listening, or we just don’t have the motivation to spend that time with Him. 

It’s so easy to let the things going wrong – all the things we can’t control – dictate our emotional and spiritual well-being. 

However, we have the greatest tool available when it feels like we can’t go on. When it feels like there’s nothing else we can do – when we feel totally and utterly defeated – we have something to cling to. Faith. 

What Is Faith? 

The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it like this, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV). Faith in God is rooted in our understanding of who God is. Without knowing God and His character, it’s difficult to have confidence in things we cannot see. 

But let’s be honest; having faith can be challenging when we don’t see immediate results. That’s when we need encouragement from hearing the stories of people who have lived by faith. The writer of Hebrews knew this, giving us examples of faith from history.

Hebrews 11 is known as “The Hall of Faith.” It’s a list of people who lived based on what they knew about God, serving as a reminder for us today. The author talks about Abraham, who lived based on a promise from God for land that would be his and a family that would become too numerous to count. It mentions Noah, who built a massive boat because God said He would flood the earth. Moses, by faith, led the Israelites out of Egypt and towards the promised land that he never actually got to experience. 

The author continues with other examples, but the extraordinary thing is that none of them lived long enough to experience what God promised them in full, and they lived through hardship as they waited in faith. Somehow these examples are supposed to encourage us!

Why is that? Why use these people as encouragement when they never saw in full what God promised them? I don’t think the answer is what we want to hear, but it’s essential to let it sink in: faith isn’t about believing based on guaranteed results; it’s the result of believing without seeing. 

Is It Worth It?

That’s why following Jesus is tough; we’re following Someone we can’t physically see. We’ve all had moments when we wonder, “Is it worth it?” Is it worth avoiding things we naturally crave that are harmful to us? Is it worth trying to put others first? Is it worth being criticized based on what we believe? Is it worth holding onto hope during tragedy, not knowing if our situation will change?

If we’re honest, these are all questions we’ve probably asked at one point, and I think the people referenced in Hebrews 11 would have wondered the same things, too. As Moses led the grumbling nation of Israel for 40 years, I’m sure he asked himself these questions. As Abraham was about to sacrifice his son without knowing that God was testing him, I’m sure he asked himself, “Is this worth it?” As Noah spent years building a massive boat, I’m sure he wondered, “Is this worth it?” 

But all these people were living in faith. Moses continued to lead the nation of Israel in the desert based on God’s promise of a “land flowing with milk and honey.” Before God intervened, Abraham was ready to give up his only son because God had promised him descendants. They lived in faith even though none of them lived to experience the fullness of what God had promised them. 

They all lived with confidence in what they hoped for and had assurance in what they didn’t see. We’re also called to live by faith as Christ-followers. The promise that God gives us is the assurance of eternity with Him if we believe Jesus died for our sins and is risen. It’s because of His promises that we endure. 

Promises

The next time you’re facing something that seems impossible, and you’re wondering if you’ll make it through, remind yourself of God’s promises. Here are a few (emphasis added):

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but [will] have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

These verses are promises of God, providing hope so we can endure and inviting us to live by faith. The next time things seem bleak or hopeless, open the Bible to one of these promises, or maybe there’s another one that speaks deeply to your soul, and repeat it over and over again. Look back to the heroes of the Christian faith – those who had confidence in what they could not see – and be encouraged. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Carter Reimer is the Share Ministries Associate Pastor at First Alliance Church.


You might also be interested in …