We were flying down I-10 (the 10 as we call it in SoCal) on our way to Palm Springs for a week of vacation. We had decided to caravan together and I was following Tim Howard who was trailing Will Walker in the lead car. Traffic wasn’t too bad but at parts was a little congested – we made good time.
Anyone who’s every been in the rear understands that you’re going to have to work at points to stay caught up – especially if there’s traffic. When you’re ‘bringing up the rear’ you can’t just speed of your group in traffic, swerving around people to get where you need to go. However, due to lane changes and merging it can be difficult to stay right with your group. You’ve got to anticipate when you’re going to change lanes, pay attention to exit signs and to where you’re going, and ensure that the middle person in front of you is protected and able to keep with the group too. There’s nothing worse then the lead person having to be constantly concerned about the caravan falling apart because you’re all over the map behind him.
Anyway…there were a couple times that day where we got separated. Not really separated, mind you, but we ended up with a car in-between us as we’re flying down the highway. A couple of times the car that jumped between us ended up traveling much slower than we were. Next thing you know, I’m several hundred yards behind the group and the gap is only widening. Not a big deal as you can just pass them, but when you’re in the carpool lane…you see my problem.
One of these times the car in front of me was big enough that I couldn’t actually see around it and it blocked my view of our caravan. I knew that Will and Tim were still there and that in a couple of minutes I’d be able to get caught up, but I really disliked those few minutes in between. They reminded me of Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Suddenly I had a vivid illustration of this verse. I knew that the caravan was in front of me and I believed it even though I couldn’t see them. It would be just a matter of moments before I would see them and faith would become sight, but those moments in between forced me to believe what I couldn’t see and be confident in what I knew to be true. They were challenging because God gave me eyes to see with and I like to use them. They were challenging because I don’t like not being in control and so often that’s what faith requires. We all understand this, thus we say, ‘Gotta see it to believe it!’ or ‘Pics or it didn’t happen!’
The beauty of faith is that it serves to protect us. God has promised us an eternal inheritance because we’ve been born again to a living hope. Our protection or what guards us against losing out on this inheritance is our faith. Even more amazing is that this shield of faith is enabled by God’s power and not our own.
Peter lays this out in I Peter chapter one and it’s followed by an obvious response of joyful praise – because of God’s promise of an eternal inheritance and a protective shield of faith we have no choice but to respond joyfully. God’s promises are sure and the trials that we endure are designed to strengthen our faith so that we are able to endure to eternal life. What a great and amazing God!I Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
So…as you’re driving down the road of life this week, don’t be concerned with the momentary trials and cars that cut you off from your planned caravan. They’re momentary and designed to strengthen your faith as you walk, for awhile, in the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.