April 15, the Thirty-Third Day of Lent

April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.

-Hebrews 11.32-

Instead of moving on to the next verse in the passage, we will remain at this verse for today and expand upon the discussion from yesterday.

In the previous post, these people are presented as heroes of faith, profound examples of what faith-filled life looks like. We will consider them from a different perspective today; the perspective that sees them as flawed people. For people who are giants of faith, these people certainly have some issues. Gideon was the least in his family. Samson hung out with loose women. Jephthah made some hasty promises. David murdered so he could commit adultery. If we could look back across all the people in Israel’s story that the author of Hebrews presents, we would see that these pillars of faith have some problems.

These people make poor decisions. They struggle with fear and doubt. They act irrationally. They don’t understand God and what he’s trying to do. My good friend Josh Gerard said: “They’re really just knuckleheads desperately trying to find God.”

They’re people like us.

It can be daunting to read a passage like this and hear tale after tale after tale of the mighty things that God’s people have done through faith. At some point, we will compare ourselves with them and realize that we are not these people; and, on top of that, our chances of becoming people like them are slim.

This is where it becomes important to know something about God’s story: it is a story of ordinary people being empowered and enabled to rise to extraordinary heights. It is a story of the everyday, the mundane getting transformed. It is a story of the broken, the shattered, the flawed, rising from defeat into victory. The people then, the heroes of faith, were real people in a real story.

The people now, you and me, are real people in a real story; the same story, in fact. This kind of faith is not out of reach; it is not impossible to have. A life transformed is not something reserved for giants and heroes; it is something that is available for all of us. For you, personally and individually.

As we journey through Lent together, may we recognize our faith-filled story.

“Dear Lord, thank you for your word that demonstrates that your grace is available to all; and with it, we can be redeemed. When I think of these people, help me to see them as they are: ordinary people who, by your power, did extraordinary things. Please work in my life in the way that you did in theirs; please help me to have the faith that they did and live accordingly. Amen.”

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