Living by Faith
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 11:1-16, Psalm 33:6-7, John 1:9-13
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 11:1-16, Psalm 33:6-7, John 1:9-13
I recently read a novel by Min Jin Lee called Pachinko. Set in WWII, the story follows an immigrant Korean family that lives in Japan for four generations. The book chronicles their bold acts of faith, fortitude, and survival in the midst of oppression and racial prejudice. I won’t spoil the ending here, but rest assured the ending isn’t what makes the book worth reading. It’s the beginning, middle, and end, all woven together like a symphony. I’ve bought multiple copies, handing them out like candy.
Likewise, the author of Hebrews recounts a family history. Our family history. Each tale is a marriage of belief and action—basically, faith and verbs.
By faith Abel offered.
By faith Noah built.
By faith Abraham obeyed and went.
By faith Sarah received.
It’s important to take a moment to really consider what those verbs cost our ancestors. Though Abel’s gift was accepted by God, he was still violently murdered by his brother. Though the ark provided rescue to Noah, he still suffered years of ridicule from his neighbors. Though God kept His promises to Abraham, Abraham still had to walk away from everything he knew and follow God into the desert. As the author of Hebrews says:
“These all died in faith, without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13–14).
I think the reason I like Pachinko so much is that it introduces a family seeking a homeland, experiencing rejection in the place where they live. As a Christian, I seek to embrace that same humbleness, embracing the truth that I am a temporary resident here on earth. This is not my final home. For that reason, I can sacrifice it all, including the comfort of home, if that is what God calls me to do.
These passages prompt me to ask myself: What are the verbs that God is asking me to act out in my life? Can I boldly trust that He will use those actions for His glory, no matter the cost? No matter the ending?
One thing is certain: God never spoils an ending. And He makes promises I can hold on to while I walk through the middle. I am chosen and never forsaken. God will go with me—He always arrives to the scene first, and acts as my rearguard. God promises He will complete the good work He started in me (Philippians 1:6). He promises that nothing will be wasted, but all things will be restored (Revelation 21:4–5). While I take these steps, any tears I shed will be like liquid words and God promises to read and store them all (Psalm 56:8).
But this is about more than just me and you. The author of Hebrews says that acts of faith make non-believers turn and watch. In other words, when we put our our faith into action, we create living proof to a dying world that God exists. Our “faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
That is no small thing.
Claire Gibson is a writer whose work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine among many others. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Patrick, their son, Sam, and their dog, Winnie. Her debut novel, Beyond the Point, will be published next year.