Watching Hamilton and celebrating the 4th of July this weekend made me ask, "How did this happen?" How did our founding fathers/mothers create this great experiment in democracy? America isn’t perfect, but it has in it’s DNA permission to speak-up, change, and improve. It has that because they believed we could live free and could govern ourselves. We might call this vision, but it’s really faith. Our founding forefathers and mothers saw what could be, believed in it, and worked to make it a reality.
Faith believes in what is possible. It is the ability to see what can be, but isn’t yet. Faith moves us forward. Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV) "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
This passage references creation, which is best understood as the belief that God created the world with order and care. How exactly he did that, we don’t know; but we can see that he was at work in creating this world perfect for us. He brought together the proper amount of atmosphere. The right distance to the sun. All of these things God orchestrated to bring us life. He took the chaos of atoms and explosions, fashioned it together, and brought order and beauty out of it!
This pattern is repeated throughout history. If you are a Christ follower you can probably look back, like I can, on difficult seasons of life and see God at work. I have seen God bring peace and beauty out of chaos and pain in my life.
Faith doesn't just watch; it works while it waits for God to renew all things. Faith knows that one day God will finish the work, which is good because when you look around it can be discouraging. This struggle however isn’t a new problem, it’s been around ever since people had faith - ever since we dared to hope for something better!
Hebrews 11:13-16 (NIV) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
These people of faith Abraham, Noah, and the others, all looked forward to God coming to earth in Jesus Christ and bringing eternal peace with him. In some ways they remind me of Albert Einstein. Einstein could see what others couldn’t. It seems to me that about every other year a headline comes across that says, “Einstein Proved Right Again!” Now Einstein had math and science helping him predict what couldn’t see.
Martin Luther had a dream, he had faith. He called it a dream and before he died he saw the dream he dreamed because closer to a reality. There was no math or formula guaranteeing success. He believed God could do it, so he worked to make that dream a reality in a divine partnership. Thankfully that dream is still alive today, because I believe it will one day be a reality.
Let his example and example of other spiritual visionaries inspire us to dream and work - even if we may not achieve all we hope for in this life. We know that one day God will renew all things and that today we can work to get a little bit closer to that promise.
Hebrews 11:38-40 (NIV) The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.