In Hebrews 11 we are told that Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I've heard that verse since I was in fourth grade, I think. Maybe earlier. It's one of those things you hear a lot if you grow up in church.

And it's one of those things that's become trite. I've heard this a million zillion times.

So when, a few weeks ago, it came up in my Scripture reading for the day, I think I internally rolled my eyes.

I'm sick and tired of the way the Word of God feels like child's play to me. Sometimes it feels like the words I learned as a younger version of myself are aphorisms. They're nice and all, but when it comes down to it, what does this really mean, anyway?

I'm pretty sure I asked God that, too, and it felt good to say it out loud.

It was like I had been holding something in for a long time and finally I said, Hey, this thing? It doesn't quite resonate with me, and maybe it never did.

I'm finding that I can only connect with God in the way for which I long if I am willing to say to God the things that I think good Christian church girls shouldn't say.

If I am willing to ask the questions that have been stirring under the surface of my soul but that I've always tried to push back down.

If I am willing to say that I'm tired of easy, intellectual answers and struggle with my own humanity. My own discontent.

My own unbelief.

If you keep reading in Hebrews 11, you get to my favorite part. It's verse 13. The author is talking about Abraham, who was promised that his descendants would be a great nation and that all the world would be blessed through him.

The author says, "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth."

Having seen them and greeted them from afar.

We aren't always going to see the way the promise comes true.

But faith is the bold, firm conviction that we will see what we have never seen before.

We may not get to hold it in our hands in our lifetime -- and therein lies the rub.

I cannot tell you the number of times over the last year alone that I have struggled and accused God, because I have not been able to hold the promise between my fingertips.

I cannot reach out and touch it.

Heck, I'm not even sure anymore that I'm promised anything.

That's really what I've been asking the last couple of weeks. You actually promised Abraham something, I say in a sullen soul-tone. You never promised me a thing. Nothing specific, like with Abraham, anyway. You promised him he would be a great nation. You never promised ME that I would get into grad school or anything like that.

And therein lies the rub.

Because deep down, I don't know if I believe that I've been promised anything.

Or I feel like it's too good to hope that I've been promised anything.

Or both.

But faith is daring to believe -- for it is daring -- that we will see what we've been longing for.

What we've been searching for on the horizon.

What we've waited for all our lives, but maybe didn't know we were awaiting.

It may not look the way we wanted it to look, or the way we expected it to look.

But He has promised us something --

That He will be Himself.

That He will be everything that He is -- good and kind and faithful and just and merciful and utterly generous to us.

He will be Himself, and He will be ours, and we will be His.

We are heirs of the promise made to Abraham.

The Church with a capital C -- we are the new Israel, heirs by adoption, grafted into the royal line.

We have received that promise as our birthright:

That we will be Your people, and You will be our God.

And to be our God means that You will be ours and You will be Yourself.

You cannot be otherwise.

It is the gentlest of promises and also the boldest.

Because if You are generous and You are merciful, then we can count on You to give to us what we have never seen before, whether we expected it or not.

It feels bold and audacious and a little arrogant.

But it's what You do, isn't it?

We expect one thing, and You give us another. Another way, another result.

We often think it is death.

We cannot comprehend that there is a way other than the one we had in mind.

Didn't I scream and swear at the heavens when I was rejected from graduate school last spring?

We are coming up on the same time of year now, lest you believe that has escaped me.

And during this time of year, I can feel God whispering to me the words of the Psalm.

I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

I believe that I will see what I have never seen before.

I believe that I will get the thing my soul has longed for -- what it really longs for, though I may neither know nor understand the longing.

I mean -- isn't that what happened this year?

I learned I'm a coloratura soprano. Haven't I always wanted to be one, and never thought I could be? Hadn't I buried that longing deep inside, and forgotten it was there, and then -- suddenly I discovered it was true.

I got so much better as a singer (like, y'all, SO MUCH BETTER). I got to rest and slow down a little. I lost the weight I wanted to lose.

I believe that I will see what I have never seen before.

I believe that I will look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.


Some way.

Because that is what I have been promised.

Help us. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.

May we see what we have never seen before.