Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11)
I remember this verse and chapter well from my High School Bible Studies and my days in the seminary. The old translation of this verse said, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for”, rather than, “the realization of what is hoped for.” Indeed, faith gives us assurance that what we hope for will be realized in the future, even though we don’t see it yet. In a sense, through faith we do already see God’s kingdom and promises coming to fruition; we do already experience it, as a grace living in our hearts and souls, and in that way it is already realized. We see and experience God’s kingdom and grace in our lives, through faith, in a way that others, who have no faith, do not. This is what gives us hope, and calls us to share the good news with others by our words and actions, so that they, too will have a reason to hope, to know that good triumphs over evil, and that God has not abandoned us.
This chapter is sometimes called, “The Hall of Fame of faith.” It recalls how Abraham and many others were able to achieve great things or overcome great difficulties in their lives because they had the knowledge, that came through faith, that God was with them, and that he was and will always be faithful to his promises, even if we don’t see it yet revealed.
Being faithful to God and trusting in his promises is what God needs from us: it gives Him the time and space to act in our lives, for our good and the good of others. If we trust and are patient, we will see his promises fulfilled: partially in this world, but most perfectly only in the next world.