Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
If you accept the premise that only things that are verifiable by reason or perception are a worthy foundation for life, this verse will seem to advocate wishing and fantasy. There are people inside and outside the faith who accept that premise. However, if you can wrap your head and heart around the concept that circular reasoning, paradox, and more subjective perceptions are not necessarily signs of fallacy, you’re at the starting line of faith.
As this verse portrays it, faith is a certainty that cannot be conclusive proven to anyone who does not possess it. People can and do offer profound proofs of the truthfulness of what the Bible says. There is evidence in the sciences that support it’s veracity. Reason can and has been employed by minds more powerful than mine to show how all these coheres very nicely, thank you. But all of that is stands outside and alongside faith. Faith simply is a sureness of the past and an expectation that the future will work out.
If that sounds easy, try it. Faith is simple, but it is not easy. It is tested in the fire of experience and either found wanting or it is tempered and strengthened for the further work of daily living.
This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:2)
This verse does not receive as much attention as the previous one, but consider its import. The kind of faith commended in verse one is the kind of faith by which the “giants” of the faith – the ones mentioned by name in chapter eleven – became examples for us to follow. These were the people who saw God work with their eyes, heard His voice with their ears, felt the Promised Land under their feet, smelled the rot of death in Egypt’s firstborn, and tasted the fruit that grew on the other side of the Jordan. They’d had the objective sensory experiences but their faith was commendable not for these but for the same kind of faith we possess, the faith set forth in verse one. We share this faith with them.
Be encouraged. Today’s senses are not alone sufficient means to decide upon these matters of faith, so don’t let them get you down. Faith stands with one foot in the past and the other in the future, straddling this present moment. It is always in motion, always growing and deepening, when our ultimate aim is true. Speaking of which, read verse six. There you’ll find your true north, the spot at which your life should be aimed.