“But as it is, they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one.
Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared a city for them.”
Hebrews 11:16

I became a Christian at the sweet age of seventeen. Since then, I have walked through a number of difficult things. From an eating disorder leaving me prone to mental health struggles and depression, to a diagnosis of endometriosis, which some days leaves me bed-bound with pain. 

In my early years as a believer, I asked a lot of “why” questions of God. Why am I going through this? Why won’t you take this away from me?

I thought my hope depended on my circumstances. Like I could only trust God if He healed me.

A wise friend and mentor once helped me understand that, while God is absolutely able to heal us, it is by His grace that He sometimes doesn’t. Instead, sometimes He allows us to learn, day by day, complete dependency on Him.

I came to understand that my hope in Him has nothing to do with my circumstances.

He is faithful through it all, and our hope in Him cannot be shaken.

It has been fifteen years now since that summer when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am thankful for every difficult thing I have had to walk through. My faith has, since the very beginning, been marked more by knowing than feeling God’s promises. 

While I think it’s wonderful when we get those moments of “feeling God” (they can serve as great encouragement on our faith journey), I also believe we shouldn’t totally rely on our emotions when it comes to what we know to be true. 

This world is too much of a whirlwind, its values and opinions change daily, to allow our feelings to direct our paths when it comes to faith and the promises of God.

We ought to be women of the Word who don’t just read the Word and apply it when or how we feel like it. We should be women who live the Word and build our lives on what it says. Women who believe God’s promises and that He will fulfill each and every one of them. Women who trust even when things around them look dim.

And with this in mind, we come to Hebrews 11:13–16

These amazing, faithful people, such as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and others, all died “not having received the things promised.”

So how did they keep going? How could they keep trusting and walking by faith if they never saw what God promised in their lifetime?

The answer is hope.

Hope kept them going.

Verse 16 helps us understand how hope was the answer, and serves as a practical application for our own lives today. It says, “they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.”

In all of their lives, daily chores, the longings of their hearts, afflictions of life on earth… in all of these things they held onto the hope and promise of the life to come. The hope of our eternal life with Him. They lived with eternity in mind and it marked their lives by faith. 

No matter what is happening around us, sweet friend, you and I have a greater hope to hold on to. This hope will not change with every cultural whim and the fleeting values of the world.

If these heroes of faith teach us anything, it is to look toward the eternal things, not things of this world. 

My own prayers through trials and pain have changed over the years from “why?” to petitions for strength and endurance. I am learning, slowly but surely, that the goal isn’t healing, and it isn’t even relief. The goal is always a deeper intimacy with Him.

We are able to endure and walk in faith if our hope is found in the name of Jesus. He is our precious Savior and Friend who promised to never leave us nor forsake us.

What is our hope in life and death?

Christ alone, Christ alone

What is our only confidence?

That our souls to him belong*

With love in Christ,

*Christ Our Hope in Life and Death by Keith & Kristin Getty, Matt Boswell, and Matt Papa

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Petra Stoneman

Petra Stoneman

Petra lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, Michael, and chocolate lab, Boomer. Originally from the Czech Republic, she serves on the LGG Translators team as one of the Czech Branch translators. Petra is passionate about discipleship and raising up a new generation of believers. She serves in the youth ministry of her local church alongside her husband, who is a full-time youth pastor, and she loves to encourage young women in their relationship with Jesus.

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