Often in life, I’m confronted by an immediate need. It’s the need to know Christ’s presence–the need to trust him in a hard place. It happened recently, as a friend and I talked through a situation from the past. A mutual friend had pressed both of us, separately, for a specific kind of approval. My heart pounded and my friend flushed as the inevitable questions bubbled up. Did we speak the truth in love to our friend? Were we faithful to Christ in those moments? Did we honor God and represent him well?
In the coffee shop that Saturday morning, we needed a pump. I thought about a family friend who's been a brittle diabetic most of his life. He controls his glucose levels hour by hour through an implanted insulin pump. The pump analyzes his blood sugar at regular intervals and responds, releasing the exact amount of insulin needed in the moment. I needed that kind of differentiated help then and there. I needed a faith pump.
When it comes to faith, I think Hebrews 11. As I walk with counselees, Hebrews 11 often shapes our conversations. The chapter describes individuals who built their lives on the bedrock of faith, believing God is who he says he is and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6). My Sunday School teachers called Hebrews 11 the “Hall of Fame of Faith.” Flannelgraph figures of Abraham, Moses, and Sarah got centerstage. The message I took away was that these were the Bible’s big guys–important folks who had it all together and made a difference. The fact that they were ordinary people never occurred to me.
As counselees and I work through Hebrews 11, we see it in a different light. Abraham’s humanity comes into focus–the man whose fear leads to a fat lie to the Pharaoh (Genesis 12). Sarah has become more relatable too, as her laughter at the angel’s prediction rings as loud as her subsequent obedience (Genesis 18). Even the mighty Moses, who raised his staff to part the Red Sea, lost his cool with the Israelites many times, saying things like, “What can I do with these people?” (Exodus 17). When we look at them closely, they lose their flannel status. We can identify.
The individuals named in Hebrews 11 constructed their lives on the rock of faith in God, a foundation that is traceable through their stories. Faith certainly was their rock. Yet in each of the situations described above, faith also served as a pump. God met them at the point of their pressing need, again and again. In their messiness, mistakes, and hardships, he allocated the strength, wisdom, and grace they needed in the moment. Supported by the rock they built on, their faith pump never failed.
As Hebrews 11 continues, the beautiful, redemptive story of Rahab weaves in. Rahab’s faith pumps in an immediate, pressing situation. Will she hide two men who suddenly strolled into her brothel? Will she hide the Israelites and lie to the king about their whereabouts? Rahab, who has no foundational knowledge of God to build on except observations about the power of the Israelite army, felt the pump; “When we heard of it, our hearts sank and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). She hid them, misled the king, saved herself and her family, and joined the lineage of Christ (Matthew 1). Her pump did not fail.
Likewise, God calls me to faith. That calling is to build on the rock of my salvation, which is a strong, sure foundation, just like the faithful in Hebrews 11. Staying in God’s Word, turning to him in prayer, and being connected to the Body of Christ, helps set that foundation. When that foundation is set in stone, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I learn to trust the pump.
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Crystal is a Christ-follower, wife, mother, counselor, and friend. She is passionate about connecting others with the truth of God's miraculous power and sustaining presence.