Through Faith, Conquering Adversity

As we have been journeying through Hebrews 11 on Sunday mornings, the voices from the past have been shouting encouragement to us!  And we need encouragement now more than ever before.  Enduring through this pandemic has had its challenges. There are many unknowns about the future.  There are many voices of fear all around us.  But we can turn our eyes to those who went before us: 

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.  Women received back their dead by resurrection.  Hebrews 11:32-35 

This passage doesn’t just list one person who received a miracle, or even two or three…because then we could assume their experiences were the exception.  But there are 15-20 different people represented in this passage which tells us this can be the norm for those with faith!  

They all faced extreme adversity. 

It is easy for us to glaze over familiar Bible stories and forget the seriousness of the actual events.  Let me ask you, how dramatic would it be for you if you had to face an army of 120,000 with just 300 men like Gideon? Or be thrown into a lion’s den like Daniel? Or attacked on all sides like Elijah and Barak? Or even thrown into a fire like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego?  These are all examples of not little trials, but extreme adversities!

They all held fast to faith in God. 

As we see the great hardships in all of these stories, we also see the great faith these people held fast to.  I love that phrase…”through faith”.  How did they do it? “Through faith”.  They made a decision to trust what they believed and knew to be true.  They did not trust what they saw or how they felt.  On Mother’s Day, Jess taught that Rahab “turned belief into action.”  That is hard to do.  We like to turn our feelings into action but not always our beliefs.  If we “feel” a certain way, that usually affects how we act.  But these heroes of faith lived their lives based on what they believed, not what they fel.  And what they believed was that God Almighty was more powerful than any adversity they could ever face! HE has the power to conquer! 

They were all empowered to conquer adversity. 

What happens when we walk in faith?  God empowers us!  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  God will empower me and strengthen me in any and all adversity I face as I trust in Him!  Look again at Hebrews 11 – Look at what was conquered:   “kingdoms, lions, injustice, fire, and even death!   

Hope for us? 

Can this speak hope for us and our situation?  YES!!!!  We need to defang the lies of fear in our life.  Stop focusing on the fear,  on the adversity, or on the problems and stress.  Choose today to walk in faith and rely on Him.  His power in us will allow us to conquer any adversity we face! 

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