As I ponder Hebrews Chapter 11 I ask, “What am I seeing in this account of men and women of faith in God? What is this showing me?” An element of the answer came in rereading a book I’ve had for close to twenty years, Hurtling Toward Oblivion, by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.
On page 126 Swenson writes, “John Calvin suggests the first duty of the Christian is to make the invisible kingdom visible.” Isn’t this what we see in Hebrews Chapter 11? Why it might not be understandable to all, while all might not discern the reason that these men and women lived the way they lived, and died the way they died; they lived against the grain of the visible, hearing a music that others either could not hear or chose not to hear. The invisible was palatable to the men and women of Hebrews 11 – their faith had substance, they themselves possessed evidence of “things not seen” – in fact they saw things that could not be seen…ponder that. Moses “saw Him who is invisible” – how does one do that, how does one see the invisible? Is this our way of life?
Then on page 127 Swenson has another quote worth noting from French Cardinal Suhard (1874 – 1949), “To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda or even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.” (Italics mine).
The lives recorded in Hebrews 11 only make sense in light of the existence of God. These people had a willingness to be identified with the true and living God in cultures, including apostate religious cultures, that were suppressing the knowledge of God and casting away the truth which God placed within humanity, revealed in creation, and specifically revealed in His Word.
Can our lives be best explained by the things that are seen or the things that are unseen? Can our churches be best explained by the things that are seen or the things that are unseen?
Are we living mysteries or are we easily explained because we live as our society lives?
What about me?
What about you?