I was doing my daily Bible reading today in Hebrews 11 - one of my favorite chapters. "My" verse since I was a younger teenager has always been Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I got to the end of the chapter, and a thought struck me. We really don't have it that bad. Even if the midst of economic crisis and a national recession, seriously - its not that bad. Check this out:
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms...Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
Wow. Next time I have a bad day or think I've got problems, I'm going to look around and take note that there is no one chasing me with a sword. No one determined to kill me because of what I believe. No one waiting to torture me for my faith. I'm going to be grateful that I'm not lost on a mountain or in a desert.
Most of all, I'm going to remember the heroes of the Bible - many of them unsung - and realize how good I've really got it...how good Americans really have it!!! So the economy is down. So things are more expensive. So we're having to cut back and sacrifice on a few things. For many Americans these days, sacrificing means buying Starbucks once a week instead of five times a week. What do we know about it? We've never been persecuted for our faith. Never had to deal with the world as the heroes of the Bible had to. And yet we wonder why our faith isn't like theirs? We wonder why God spoke to them more clearly than He seems to to us now-a-days?
It seems obvious to me.
I don't mean to make light of the families truly struggling right now. I realize there are people the recession has hit harder than others, especially those who have lost their jobs. But for the majority of us right now, we have nothing to complain about.
We're not wearing goatskin, right? =)
Don't worry, the ending of the chapter is a little happier:
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Just some thoughts for your Thursday morning.