“…all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
The fact that we are people of faith does not necessarily translate to a life free from pains. Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain: ‘move’ and it will obey you. (Matthew 17:20). Faith helps us move our mountains but it does not prevent new mountains from popping up. The book of Hebrews speaks of the heroes of our faith in today’s first reading.
It says: “Some were tortured, refusing to accept release that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated… And all these, well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised.” (Hebrews 11:35-39). I like to think of faith not as a passport to keep bad things from happening to us but as a shield that prevents us from crumbling into depression when bad things happen.
Jesus cured a demoniac but in the process, the villagers lost their entire herd of swine. The size of their economic loss was so huge that they failed to notice that a man had been set free from demon-possession. They begged Jesus to go away. This is a clear example that we cannot serve both God and mammon. These people preferred mammon to God.
Lastly, when the demoniac realized he had been cured, he begged Jesus to admit him into his company. But Jesus refused. Why? Jesus knew that following him would be great but being a preacher to his own people was greater and more profitable. Since Jesus was being sent away by the people, the man needed to remain to do what Jesus would have done; preaching the message to the people.
“Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.” This, for me, is a very powerful form of evangelisation; telling people what God has done for us, counting our blessings rather than telling everyone our problems. No matter how bad things may be for you right now, make a decision to stop complaining, start to sing the praises of God wherever you go.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith in good times and in bad. Amen.
Bible Study: Hebrews 11:32-40, Psalm 31 and Mark 5:1-20).