Do you ever look around you and really admire the people that God has placed in your life? Whether they are family, life-long friends or friends He brings you only for a season, look at those people and learn from them and thank God for them. I know I do. As I was reading in Chapter 6 of The Fire of Delayed Answers this week, I was reminded of so many amazing people.
Chapter 11 in the book of Hebrews is often called the “faith chapter”—and for good reason.
Hebrews 11:1-2 says “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith.” (The Living Bible)
The rest of the chapter goes on to list giants of faith—Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, among many others. All of these examples are given as a testimony of faith and an encouragement to those of us who have come behind.
I love the pillars of faith of the Bible. But as I look around me, I see giants of faith every day—people I have known for years, who are incredible people of faith. Many of them have walked, and are still walking, through circumstances that would tear many people apart, or cause them to turn away from God because it seems their struggles never end. Some of these people have endured the same struggles for years.
Illness and disease. Loss—loss upon loss. Estrangement from children. Death of children, of parents. Mental illness. Deep emotional pain. Raising children with special needs. Suicide. Financial struggles. Legal struggles. Joblessness. Divorce. Living in the middle of aging parents and growing children.
But these people, all the ones who are in my mind right now, have never wavered in their faith. They all wait with certainty, with hope, with confident assurance. I think these are the ones Bob Sorge is referring to when he says, “In the face of delayed answers, it takes great faith to persevere in seeking only the face of God—to ‘cry out day and night to Him.’” (Chapter 6, The Fire of Delayed Answers) And perhaps Jesus would include them in the blessed servants “whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.” (Luke 12:37 NKJV)
These are the ones who are persevering, crying out to God and are given over completely to “vigilant watchfulness” and “intense, prayerful alertness in the Spirit.” These people are watching and waiting and praying without ceasing in great faith, while they wait with expectation for God to bring them through. All the while, they continue to press forward. It amazes me and blesses me.
There is a great reward for each of them, whether their answers come now or later or in eternity. In the meantime, each of them is an encouragement to me. They minister to me and some of them don’t even know it. I watch them and I learn from their examples of great faith and strength and I say to myself, “THIS is how you walk through the darkest valleys of life. THIS is faith.” And though my heart breaks for their sufferings, and I pray for their deliverance, my heart is also filled with awe and gratitude for their great faith and strength.
Look around you and be encouraged by how the giants of faith in your life walk through the fire of delayed answers.
Thank You, Father, for blessing me with such people and may You act swiftly and send their answers speedily. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
I am excited to be joining in on a weekly book discussion led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. Please visit them to see other posts in response to The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, at Jason’s blog—Connecting to Impact, and Sarah’s blog—Living Between the Lines. And even if you are not reading the book, please feel free to jump into the discussion!