Faith unrealized


Hebrews 11:39–40 (ESV): 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.


Hebrews 11 is the great Hall of Faith. In this chapter, we find numerous heroes of the faith who, because they trusted God, acted obediently upon that faith.

Abel offered a better sacrifice. Noah built a built. Abraham went traveling without destination set in his GPS. Moses chose to identify with slaves instead of the political elite.

Yet none of these received what was promised – the Messiah. All of these heroes looked forward in faith. But even though they did not receive the promised Messiah in their lifetimes, they continued to obey God’s will through their faith in him.


Today, we have received the promised Messiah. Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life. Yet I wonder if we should consider another application of this scripture: what if we never receive in our lifetime the answer to various promises God has made to us?

Take as an example the Christian parent who prays faithfully for an unbelieving child to accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Some have even felt God’s assurance that their wayward child will return from sin. Yet this parent continues to pray and believe, trusting God, until their death. We have heard various stories then of how God finally answered the believer’s prayer after entering eternity.

Do we have a faith that will persevere in trust and obedience to God, even if we do not receive what was promised in our lifetime, or when or how we expect it?


Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of the great heroes of faith who obeyed you in trust, even though they never received the promise of your Messiah. Help me to be faithful in obedience to you even when I receive the answer to my prayer when or how I might expect it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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