My favorite passage in Hebrews 11 is 11:11. The ESV version says, “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” It’s beautiful but I love the way the Passion Translation says it, even more.
Sarah’s faith embraced God’s miracle power to conceive even though she was barren and was past the age of childbearing, for the authority of her faith rested in the One who made the promise, and she tapped into His faithfulness.”
This is my life verse, I want my faith to have authority because it’s deeply rooted in the Lord, who is the giver of all the blessings in our lives. There have been many times, where I have felt I had nothing left in me to believe for God’s promise, so I have found myself coming back to this verse over and over again, reminding myself to “tap into His faithfulness”.
Verse 19 challenges us even greater because it says,
Abraham’s faith made it logical to him that God could raise Isaac from the dead…”
How is that logical in a “normal world”? His faith was so great, and all of his faith had to be tapped into the Lord’s faithfulness to go through, confidently, with what he was being asked to do.
I love what the second half of verse 13 (tPt) says,
But [these heroes] saw beyond the horizon the fulfillment of their promises and gladly embraced it from afar. They all lived their lives on earth as those who belonged to another realm.”
Or the NIV says, “…they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” I feel like that’s the ultimate challenge for all of us. Can we truly trust God enough? Do we trust in His plan, His faithfulness enough, that we can challenge our earthly minds to believe—not what we see, not what makes sense on this side of Heaven, but to see beyond “sense”?
Can we tap into His faithfulness so much so that it might be thought about us that we “belong to another realm”, or are a “stranger on earth”? At times I feel I can do this, I can push out the “logical solution”, or the negative noise all around me, and tap into His faithfulness, but sometimes it’s also very challenging.
In Psalm 84: 5-7 (tPt), David says,
How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord; within their hearts are the highways of holiness! Even when their path winds through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others only find pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring. They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward until they find all their strength in you.”
David understood that through faith, and finding our strength in the Lord—not the world’s logic—we could tap into something that others are unable to see. Other’s only find pain because their minds are not tapped into the realm of Heaven, but when we are able to, it offers us “a brook of blessing” when we need it most.
Going back to Hebrews 11:1, the very tip of the faith chapter, it says,
Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for.”
I believe this goes beyond the things we “want”, or think we need, I believe this ties into verse 6, which says,
And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that He is real and that He rewards the faith of those who passionately seek Him.”
This is the key.
We think we know what we want/need but ultimately what our spirits “long for” is connection to God, to “passionately seek Him”, and in seeking Him, we please Him, and He rewards that faith.
A couple days after writing what you just read, I was reading in Romans, when I got to chapter 4: 20-22 (tPt), which talks about Abraham, Sarah’s husband. It says,
[Abraham] never stopped believing God’s promise, for he was made strong in his faith to father a child. And because he was mighty in his faith and convinced that God had all the power needed to fulfill His promises, Abraham glorified God. So now you can see why Abraham’s faith was credited to his account as righteousness before God.”
As I read this I thought, “wait a minute, didn’t Abraham’s faith waiver, which is why he had a son with Hagar?”. But when I went back and re-read the story, it was actually Sarah’s faith that wavered.
Genesis 16:2 (ESV) says,
And [Sarah] said to [Abraham], ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’”
And Abram listened to her.
I think there’s something in there for all of us.
There have been times in my life where I knew I heard from the Lord, yet everything around me looked the opposite of that. When that happens it’s hard to not hear other people around you saying, what you feel the Lord said, is impossible, or improbable. How many times have you been in those situations and then decided to take matters into your own hands?
We forget to “tap into His faithfulness” and remember all the miracles He’s done in the past, and we try to figure it out on our own, based on natural logic, forgetting to cling to our faith.
The first half of Romans 5:1 (tPt) says,
Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and He now declares us flawless in His eyes.”
Sarah wasn’t flawless, she took matters into her own hands because she was tired of waiting, she didn’t see God’s promise being fulfilled so she came up with her own solution. We are just like Sarah, but the beauty of this story is that I started off by quoting one of my favorite verses in the Bible, which I’ll remind you says, “Sarah’s faith embraced God’s miracle power to conceive even though she was barren and was past the age of childbearing, for the authority of her faith rested in the One who made the promise, and she tapped into His faithfulness.” It doesn’t say, “Sarah doubted God, took matters into her own hands, and then eventually trusted God, after she messed everything up”, no, it says
the authority of her faith rested in the One who made the promise, and she tapped into His faithfulness.”
She will be remembered for her faith. Because of Jesus, God doesn’t focus on our flaws when we struggle with our faith, He “declares us flawless in His eyes.” So when our faith is strong, our eyes are focused on the Father, and we are tapped into His faithfulness, we honor Him, and our faith transfers God’s righteousness into our accounts (Romans 4:3).
But when you don’t get it right, and you take matters into our own hands it’s okay, don’t give up on yourself. The beginning of Romans 4:5 says, “But no one earns God’s righteousness. It can only be transferred when we no longer rely on our own works”, so when you mess up, don’t give up, turn back to God’s promise and put your faith back into the one who made the promise to you.
He will never let you down.
Abraham and Sarah had to wait 14 years from the time Ishmael was born, until Isaac was born, so just because time feels like it’s dragging on, do not lose hope, keep tapping into His faithfulness, because His promises will be fulfilled in His perfect timing.