“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not
ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16
We live in a society that tells us to be safe. “Look both ways,” “Don’t talk to strangers,” and
“Buckle up” were drilled into me from a young age. Today’s emphasis on safety and comfort is
even greater: don’t let your children suffer loss, feel pain, or risk prime opportunities. Even my
dentist – upon hearing my plans to move my family across the world – focused more on
persuading me to live a life of safety than to brush and floss daily.
But God models a different way. Jesus demonstrates that the way of love is one of service,
shame, and worldly failure. He left his throne in heaven to die for a world that despised him –
while looking toward the joy set before him.
Hebrews 11 – known as the Hall of Faith – lists many people who lived radically for the Lord.
Rather than dub this chapter the “Hall of Faith,” the world would call this chapter the “Hall of
Fools.” Because they focused their eyes on God and his kingdom, the heroes listed lived radical
lives. In fact, the passage says, “the world was not worthy of them” (Heb 11:38).
As I lead my children and advise youth and young adults concerning their life choices, of course
I encourage them to be wise and kind. But I hope to instill in them an instinct to look at the world
through eyes shaped by God’s kingdom. I pray that they will live out their faith with a holy fear
that refuses to be silenced by the world around them. I pray that their lives will be marked by a
deep love of God and his word, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and a grief for the
brokenness around them.
This road will come with a steep price. It might cost everything they have. It might be
dangerous. They may look foolish. There might be deep suffering and tragic loss. But when
faithful men and women have walked with God, forsaking all others, people have been rescued
from darkness, the Gospel of hope has been proclaimed, and nations have been healed.
Furthermore, God is not ashamed to be their God. May God teach us how to lead, pray for, and
launch those who come after us.