You are probably reading this title and thinking “Blasphemous!” Faith means I get what I believe God for, right? Won’t God give me everything I believe Him for? I want you to carefully read this portion of Hebrews 11:32-40, and I will draw out a few principles that God has already laid out in His Word.
The first part of this is victorious: “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” We all love this part. Who doesn’t like the miraculous?
The second portion does not sound like the prosperity package some preachers teach: “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Some of you are probably thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this”. These unnamed people did God’s Will and suffered. They did not receive the promise in this life, but the Scripture says they obtained a good testimony through faith.
We must be willing to accept that there is a victorious side to faith and a side that calls us to know Christ “and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). The first part is easy. The second part is for the courageous who truly want to follow Christ. This is the real test of a true believer – Do you follow Christ out of convenience or conviction? Your faith may not take you where you planned to go. With that in mind, will you still follow?