Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Heb. 11:1
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him... Job 13:15
You may remember a blog entry I posted last spring about the accidental death of Karlee, a young girl whose family attends our church. This past Sunday her father shared what life has been like for them since the accident. He referenced the above two scriptures several times, quoting them by memory. He likened their darkest day of losing Karlee to feeling as though God had slayed them. Every night he had prayed protection over his children and believed that God had good plans for them; plans to prosper them and not to harm them. The accident felt like a monstrous betrayal.
But this heart-broken father stood before us and assured us that they, like Job, still hoped in God: the God who they had known as consistently good, faithful and loving. They lived in the reality of faith that hoped in the things unseen, despite what their physical senses were experiencing, despite the enemy's roaring taunts and doubts-"did God really say...?"
This unseen reality believed Karlee was now protected by the perfect Father and that she was experiencing joy and delight beyond anything they could have hoped for her here on earth. What a powerful illustration of the Hope we as believers possess in Christ!
Our pastor continued the service with his meditation on the Hope of heaven. His main points included focusing on our future home with excitement, allowing suffering and injustice to make our faith stronger, and making whatever sacrifices we need to make in this life to gain the glory God will give us later. And seeing Jesus our Savior will be worth it ALL.
He used the illustration of being guests for dinner and having the hostess clear away the first course and say, 'Keep your forks', meaning forks will be needed for eating the dessert to be served next. Keeping your forks meant there was more to come, the sweetest part was yet to come. God is saying to us, similarly, 'Keep your forks; keep the faith. The best is yet ahead'!
(The pastor had stated earlier that heaven is reality, not some 'pie in the sky', as the saying goes. As he shared about keeping forks, I had to think maybe he was contradicting himself about there not being pie. Isn't it fun to see humor, even during the sermon?)
He ended with this verse from Colossians 1:5 from the Message Bible:
"The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by HOPE".
May your Hope and Faith be encouraged today and during this week. Christ is there, in heaven, now preparing a place for us. We have a glorious future to look forward to!