“Cutting to the Chase” Meditations 28: Visionaries
Heb 11:13d “they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance”
We are continuing to reflect on the gallery of faith in Hebrew 11 and we’ve noted that these people lived by faith their whole lives, often up to an unpleasant death, rarely seeing the complete fulfilment of the promises of God over their lives yet looking beyond this life to a future fulfilment.
They were able to do this because they saw themselves as different from the godless, self-centred people or cultures around them, and sensed God’s call on their lives to something better. Yet these lives, we are now told, “they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance”. That suggests they realized that what they saw around them of this fallen world was just how it was, for now, but they lived for something better and that helped keep them true to God.
In other words, whether they were conscious of it or not, these people had vision that took their hearts beyond what they saw in front of them. God had spoken something into them and now they were ruined for this world, for their eyes were constantly looking for something more. They caught a sense of what could be, they saw it at a distance but welcomed it where they were. The future, if you like, was stamped on their hearts and made them different, made them people who qualified for this ‘gallery of faith’. Now isn’t all this, all these descriptions, exactly how God intends it to be for us? We look around us and see where the world falls short of God’s design and something in us yearns for it to be different. We sense the possibility of what could yet be, we are dissatisfied with what is, and we yearn for it to be different.
I was talking on the phone with an elderly friend who I hadn’t seen for some time, and he was asking about ‘church’ and I won’t say what my reply was, but he chuckled and said, “You’ll never be happy with church this side of heaven,” and I realized what he said was true. I see the many inadequacies of the modern church in the West becoming more obvious as the days pass, and I see the church portrayed in the New Testament, and although there are those who say it is shown with its inadequacies, I say, “Yes, but they are only showing us a better way!” The nuts and bolts of the Spirit-led church are there. Many leadership failures are scattered behind us in this century, and these things only go to stir me to say, we MUST reach forward to the thing on God’s heart for His church and stop all this play acting and celebrity culture. But if the church is showing its failings, so much more is the world around us. I don’t know whether you read or listen to what is going on in the western world but chaos and anguish reign. The world desperately needs to see Jesus revealed through us, you and me!