These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised…(Heb 11:39).
Sometimes our faithfulness has little to do with what we personally will receive from it in the present or near future. It could be that our faithfulness is meant to bless the generations to come with an outpouring from God’s Spirit. It could be that your circumstances will not end how you would hope. It is not because God does not love you, but there is a bigger purpose that you cannot see and may never see on this side of heaven.
The Israelites understood this, because, to them, life was not about the individual, but instead about the community. This is why it was so shocking that the prodigal son left his family. He was practicing one of the most heinous things a Jew during that time could practice, cutting himself off from the community to become more of an “individual.”
I think one of the reasons we often feel like God is giving us the short end of the stick when life seems unfair is because we think in terms of ourselves, not in terms of what is best for the community of believers in the kingdom of God. If I am hurting, I become my main concern. It is difficult for me to see that maybe God has allowed my suffering for the purpose of the generations to come. It could be that what I’m walking through is for the strengthening of the community. Our own selfishness makes it difficult to not allow ourselves to be the focal point of our present pain.
While Jesus was taken up upon the cross He suffered excruciating pain and mistreatment. Yet, He did not have Himself in mind, but the community of faith. He did not allow His suffering to birth in Him a “woe is me,” attitude. Joseph didn’t either as he sat wrongfully in prison. Instead, he waited for God’s redemption.
In our Western world, we must be extremely intentional to switch our thinking away from ourselves and towards what is best for the community. Any parent who loves their child understands this. If they live for themselves and make decisions for themselves, their children suffer through it.
Do not be discouraged if what you’re walking through right now is painful. Understand there is a bigger purpose at hand that you may never see come to fruition on this side of heaven. Rejoice with the Lord that He would see you as fit for the task, under HIs strength in Jesus name.
Lord, often times, my main concern is me. My dreams, my desires, my hopes, my wants, my time, my money. The list could go on and on. I am selfish to the core, yet you have mercy for people like me. Because through Christ I am not selfish. I am a new creation! I can give freely knowing that you will bless me and the generations to come, Amen!