A Man Who Lived By Faith
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)
My father-in-law died last week at the age of 84. What made his 84 years most remarkable was the fact that he was diagnosed with M.S. when he was 19. He was told by his doctors at the time he would likely be dead by the time he was 30. Boy, did he prove them wrong! In his obituary, it said, "Roger was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws, one sister, a niece and great-nephews, along with all the physicians who said he would not live to be 30."
In spite of being told he "would not live to be 30," Roger went to college and became a pharmacist, married, and had a family (for which I am grateful!). He worked hard, went on vacations, and supported his church. And he battled the M.S. every day.
He didn't know he would live to 84, but he did believe he would outlast 30. And even 40 and 50. He was in his 50's when I met him, and he was still living with the confidence that tomorrow would come. So would the day after that, and the day after that. He lived by faith.
Again, he did not KNOW he would live to 84, but he chose to live like he would. To me, that is the key to faith. It isn't a guarantee, it's a choice. As it says a little later in Hebrews, "All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them."
Faith is seeing the life God has in store for us and living into it despite the setbacks. And despite the setbacks, faith is knowing that God is still out in front of us, making a new way forward, and greeting that way forward. Such faith leaves room for doubt and room for wondering if that hoped for future will ever arrive but keeps striving toward it anyway. I may not know if I will ever get there, but by faith I will get there.
I believe that is the faith of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob the writer of Hebrews is attesting to. I believe that is the faith Roger lived by. And that is the faith I strive to hold on to as well - faith in a future I do not know, but a future in which I know God already dwells.