All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
Dear God, this is pretty much what it’s all about, I think. I experience pains and successes every day. I pray for outcomes for friends, family, and even myself. I pray for outcomes for things in the world. Ukraine. Victims of violence. I pray about a lot of things. I care about a lot of things. But I simply don’t know what you are doing, and I might not ever live to see it.
In this example, the author of Hebrews is using Abraham and Moses as examples of people who were praying and hoping for outcomes that they would not live to see. Their faith in you propelled them forward in their lives, but Abraham never saw what would happen with his grandchildren and who they would become. Moses didn’t reach the Promised Land. I have many, many more examples. Naomi never saw Jesse and David. Samson’s parents never understood why their son was the way he was and probably died feeling like failures. Zechariah and Elizabeth never knew how John the Baptist’s life would turn out, and, had they lived to see John’s beheading they would probably have felt like it was an opportunity lost.
So as for me and my life, yes there are pains in it. There are things that cause me anguish. All I have is my faith that you are doing something in this pain. You are using it to form me. You are using it to form those I love who are involved in that pain. If it takes me taking two steps backward so that your overall plan can take three steps forward–or even one step forward and it’s a net loss for me–that’s okay. It’s not about me, after all. Even if it takes all of the way up to my life just for a marginal advancement of your plan in the world, I will gladly offer that to you.
Father, help me to believe and internalize what I just said. Jesus, guide me through this with your example. Holy Spirit, use your still small voice to guide me and counsel me. When I need it, comfort me. When I need it, discipline me and move me forward. Refine me, oh God, into your image.
I pray this in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,