Some years it seems like spring will never come.
It’s so bad here there is snow in the forecast, and it’s the first week in May.
Both you and I know there are times when life is just like that. One thing piles on top of another. We pick ourselves up off the mat only to get hit by the next oncoming train. The enemy seems to have more power than God.
Let me try to give you some truth that will help you when this happens.
Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The important word here is assurance. The Greek word is hupostasis. It means “substance.”
In the Greek language, this word originally meant that which supports something, a deposit or sediment in the ground, or even an item of immovable property. It came to refer in a more figurative sense to the underlying reality behind a thing.
According to Hebrews 1:3, Jesus is the exact representation (the same word is used of the imprint of Caesar on a coin) of God’s hupostasis. He brings God’s substance to earth and into our lives.
And this is what we have to remember. Our lives are not built on the foundation of our finances, our health, our job or our relationships. They are built on Jesus. He is the substance. That’s what he meant when he told the story of the house built on the rock.
The eternal reality of who and what God is in the eternal, unseen realm is made into exact physical, earthly reality in Christ. That’s Hebrews 1.
In the same way, Hebrews 11 teaches that through Christ, the things that exist in the eternal realm -- the “things hoped for,” the things we do not yet possess -- are made into exact flesh and blood reality in the lives of individual believers.
How does this happen? By the exercise of our faith. Faith in Jesus is the hupostasis, not the state of our circumstances.
Even as Jesus brought the invisible substance of God into this physical world, so faith in Jesus brings the things we do not yet possess into our possession.
What is real in the eternal world but has no substance in the material world gains substance through the exercise of our faith.
It is this substance which enabled the heroes of faith, whose lives are recorded as chapter 11 unfolds, to conquer everything the world threw against them, and still emerge victorious, whether in life or in death.
Faith is sometimes presented as a spiritual or psychological key to living a happy life floating above all challenges. Rubbish!
Faith is the heart cry of a desperate man or woman as they see that train coming down the track.
Faith is not a product of a positively-thinking mind. It is the reaching out of a powerless person toward an omnipotent God.
Suffering is a reality. I’m trying to finish a book on it at the moment, with the help of some friends who share their stories of finding God in incredible trials.
Setbacks are going to happen. Tears will flow. Cries will reach out to heaven.
But one thing is sure. Defeat is not an option.
God himself defines me as a winner. The word in Greek is ho nikon, one who conquers. That’s me. That’s you. Read the last book in the Bible if you don’t believe me. When you were a kid, you hoped someone would choose you to be on their team. I'm a winner because Jesus chose me to be on his team. And he is the star player of all time!
Even when I die, I will only move into a better neighbourhood than I live in now.
So when the train is coming down the track, don’t give up.
Just fight back.
You can’t lose.
Photo: Kevin Galens, reproduced under CC BY-SA 2.0