“By faith he (Abraham) went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” Hebrews 11:11-12 ESV
Moving is not fun. It requires leaving people and things behind; on top of the emotional turmoil, it takes time and physical effort packing, traveling and hauling stuff. Living out of a suitcase and constantly on the move can be even more taxing. However, if we were to do so while on vacation or on a journey to an amazing destination—it’d be worthwhile! I’d gladly live out of a suitcase if it meant getting to spend time all over Europe! I would sign up for another move in a heartbeat if it meant getting to live in Hawaii! So it was with Abraham that he endured living on the move, in tents, awaiting a final glorious destination. It was with spiritual eyes of faith of one day reaching the heavenly city, that enpowered him to beileve while never physical seeing the full fulfillment of the God’s promises.
It’s all about perspective. The death of my husband has been one of the most tragic events in my life; yet at the same time it has been an incredible gift in the way it has changed my perspective on life. Heaven does not seem so far away having witnessed my beloved at age of 37 reach the celestial city already. It changes the way that I live as I think of the brevity of life and the reality of each day holding the possibility of being the last. It motivates me to press on for the upward call when days are rough. “In once sense it is possible ‘to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.’ But in a much deeper sense, it is impossible to be of any real earthly good unless we are heavenly minded. Only the heavenly minded will have the patience to continue faithful in God’s work when it becomes hard, unappreciated, and seemingly unending.” MacArthur
Despite knowing God’s heavenly perspective, I still struggle to not hold on the alluring things of this world. I can relate much to Sarah and her example gives me hope. She was graciously commended for her faith even in her failings. Sarah was more earthly than heavenly minded on her noteworthy days. She laughed when an undercover angel told her by next year she would bear a son. She was inpatient and took matters into her own hands by sinfully practicing surrogacy in her own effort of trying to rush God’s plan to bring about the promised heir. Moreover, the story of Sarah’s lack of faith serves not as a recipe, but as a lesson for us to learn without having to reap the repercussions.
We are to relentlessly cling to God’s promises when all around us the world gives way, the clock seems to tick ever slowly, and all hope seems to crumble. When we act in faith, it proves powerful and real. Just like love is shown in actions and not merely words, so does faith cause us to courageously act upon it. MacArthur gives a stunning description of faith, “True faith is deaf to doubt, dumb to discouragement, and blind to impossibility.” He goes on to say, “Faith sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, touches the intangible, and accomplishes the impossible. Unfortunately, some faith is all talk, and never gets down to action. True faith is active, powerfully active.”.
If we love Christ, we will not just be unable to stop talking about him—our love for him will be evident in the way we live out our love for him in faith. True saving faith is expressed in obedience. It is displayed through repentance–the turning from serving sin to serve the living God. When God unbinds our eyes to see the depth of our sinful condition and need for a Savior, he also empowers us to trust in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and follow suit. It is a call to leave everything behind, and no longer live for this world. It is the beginning of a pilgrimage and the journey toward a new heavenly city, even while still residing in the old one. Our earthly ambitions die, in light of the weightier call–to reach lost souls. What is God calling you and me to do in faith? Whatever that looks like and however big or seemingly insignificant the sacrifice, may we be joyfully willing and intently focused on looking to a heavenly city that will soon be sight for us who believe.
Heavenly Father, king of the universe—you alone are the author of life and the giver of genuine faith. Lord we believe, help our unbelief. Thank you that through saving faith in Jesus we have citizenship to a heavenly city not made with hands. Please move us places unimaginable, with faith that is alive, active and animated. We ask for real faith that expresses itself with obedience, sacrifice and selfless love. In Jesus’ name.