When we live with full eyes and empty hearts, assurance runs low and conviction wears thin. It’s hard to hope from an empty heart.
When we simply go with the flow of the world–walking and talking and acting and feeling by sight–there will always be plenty to keep our eyes full, but it’s hard to build conviction for things that are never granted my undivided attention. So prayer takes a backseat to the next Netflix episode, Bible reading gets pushed to the back burner of tomorrow, I’ll find the margin to worship on the weekend (as long as my eyes aren’t too full of other, more pressing things) … and I wonder in those dark nights of the soul why I’m struggling to hope with assurance and trust with conviction.
Hebrews 11 reminds us in the form of some powerful examples to look up from the cares and riches and pleasures of life to what cannot be seen with our physical eyes. Consider:
Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. (11:8-9)
Why? Why do such a thing?
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (11:10)
Example after example is offered in Hebrews 11 of men and women who hoped with assurance and trusted with conviction. They lived by and died with faith in God’s promises, “having seen them and greeted them from afar” (11:13).
By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones. (11:22)
Joseph could “see” something that wouldn’t happen in space and time for centuries.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (11:24-26)
“He was looking.” In an era where most eyes were full of the gold and glitter of the Pharaohs, Moses lifted his eyes from the fleeting to focus on the eternal. And what came as a result? His heart wasn’t empty. His hope was sure. His conviction was strong. By faith, he was equipped to endure “as seeing him who is invisible” (11:27).
A clear view of him who is invisible. Think about that today. What could possibly be worth more?