Consider the forward-facing nature of our faith. We have the privilege of fixing our eyes on Jesus by looking back to what he endured. By living on this side of the cross, we have a vantage point none of our Old Testament characters received. But as this next section of Hebrews makes clear, faith calls us to fix our eyes on Jesus and where he is reigning now, awaiting our arrival into the kingdom that cannot be shaken. We not only get to look back to the cloud of witnesses, but we also get to look ahead to the consummation of all things.
Anticipation changes the way we experience the present. When we look forward to something--a celebration, a day off, a good book, a date night--our lives permeate with a kind of energetic preparation. in a similar way, our faith is not limited to a past experience or a list of confessional beliefs. Hope is an indispensable dimension of faith. Take away hope, and the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 is destroyed. By God's grace and his wisdom, our faith has a secure foundation in the unshakable hope of the gospel. Unlike our plans here which may fall through, our hope anchors into God himself, who does not change.
When life overwhelms us and our vision fogs, we tend to narrow our focus to the present. This moment becomes insurmountable and all-consuming, and we interpret all of life through the pressures surrounding it. Yet when suffering and hardship fall into our laps, let us lift our eyes to Mount Zion, as described later in Hebrews 12: 18-29, where there is a gathering around a feast prepared by God himself. Let us hear the joy and laughter of salvation accomplished, death swallowed up forever, and shame cast away from all the earth. Let that day dictate how we respond this day, grieved by various trials, but not without hope. For he has made us his treasured possession, and the reward of belonging to him both now and forever should fill us with confidence in the fiercest storms. Let us praise God for his fixed reality this very great reward, and endure what comes, so that our faith may "result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7b).
What are you willing to sacrifice and endure as worship because of this great hope?