Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “Honor Roll of the Faithful.” It lists the many people who were remembered, not for being perfect or better than others, but for being faithful. Faith, per Hebrews 11:1 “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” So, if asked what one hopes for and is blindly certain of, the first answer that comes to mind is that we as Christians hope for eternal life and are certain of Heaven. That is the big easy answer, but how do we apply faith in daily life?
The examples given in Hebrews 11 are not of people wishing their lives away while focusing on the hereafter. Each person had a difficult task or situation that required faith to allow them to know with every fiber of their being that they would gain something so wonderful that they could not even imagine it at the time. Remember Sarah, leaving her home and all she knew because her husband said God had a better place for them and then later being told she was going to have a son at an age when women were far past childbearing—could she have possibly fathomed the adventure to await her or the fact that people know her name and story around the world thousands of years later? Think of Moses’ mother knowing that her son was safer floating in the Nile with wild animals than in her home—could she have possibly envisioned Moses becoming a prince of Egypt or the one who would lead the Hebrew children out of captivity? What about the prostitute, Rahab, who wasn’t even an Israelite—could she have possibly dreamed that because of her faith in a foreign God she would be an direct ancestor of the Messiah and an example for all women who come near to giving up because their sins convince them they are not worthy to do anything for the Kingdom of Heaven? As Eve and most women since the beginning of time learned, just the simple act of conceiving and bearing a child is a major act of faith—and could any woman have possibly envisioned the miracles, joys, lessons, and love that followed?
There were so many individuals who committed amazing acts of faith, that the author of Hebrews could not list them all. But those heroes of faith are not limited to the lives recorded in the Bible. Hebrews 12:1 points out that “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Who are these witnesses? They are the ones who from the beginning of time right up until this very moment, have persevered in faith and set an example for us to follow. Since they are described as a “great cloud” we can infer that they have already left this earth and are cheering us on to Glory.
My salvation was bought by Jesus dying on a cross to pardon my sins, but it was my grandmother who led me in the sinner’s prayer. The word of God was inspired by Him and recorded by men thousands of years ago, but it was wonderful Sunday School teachers who taught me from that treasure of knowledge and wisdom. Our Heavenly Father has orchestrated every moment of our lives, and even when we are too entangled by sin, trials, and busy-ness to see it, we know He is doing “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). And, in His infinite wisdom He knew we would need loving women to guide, love, encourage, hug, pray, laugh, cry, and cajole us through our race, and to help us persevere.
So, let me ask you—who is the woman in the great cloud cheering you on? Is she a relative, teacher, friend, or someone you have admired from afar? What mind-boggling act of faith did she commit? And, what do you know now that she could not see then as the certainty she raced toward? Please share your stories by using the COMMENT button below. Honor the Woman of Faith who inspire you by telling us about her, and thereby continuing her legacy by allowing us to be encouraged by her also.