The longer I serve God, seek after Him and strive to truly know Him, the more convinced I become that His ways are so far above our own that it may be impossible to fully comprehend Him and to profoundly understand Him. In light of this, consider with me the 11th chapter of Hebrews.
The early portion of the chapter cites victorious accounts; of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and others. Listen to verses 33 through 35:
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again:…”
A sudden halt to victory marches comes in verse 35 and continues through verse 38:
“…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment; They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”
Then verse 39 reveals the awe-inspiring, imponderable God, as He speaks from Paul’s flowing pen:
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”
And for us is this dynamic lesson: When success is elusive despite our whole-hearted efforts, when we’re deathly sick and our friends are healed, when our peers flourish and we falter, when we can’t conceive or the baby is born mal-formed or quickly perishes, when we’re discouraged, confused, and just can’t find our way, when the nights are dark, and there shines no light, and we know we’re pitiful and untalented and wasted, we must jam ourselves into verse 39, yelling aloud those faithful, blessed words:
“And these all…obtained a good report.” Yes!
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