After the birth of my second son, I decided to go back to Hebrews 11:1 and study the whole chapter. Being a mom of two brought new challenges and I wanted to spend time studying the examples of faith. God asked many people in the Bible to do things that must have seemed absurd, and there are days when that’s what motherhood is like!
The people in the bible trusted God enough to follow his leading. I was encouraged by their faith and reminded that while God may set tasks before us that require courage, he will never forsake us. And yes, motherhood requires courage! So, let’s look at some of these courageous stories of faith. May they encourage you in your journey as a mother, or in the journey towards any other new task the Lord puts in your life.
Noah and the Ark
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”Hebrews 11:7 ESV
If you’ve spent any time with animals, you’ll understand how much faith Noah and his family must have had to agree to build an ark and fill it with every kind of animal! Even common domesticated animals can be a handful without adding lions, bears, zebras, deer and so on. The Bible doesn’t elaborate on how Noah fed the animals or cared for them, but that is all part of the miracle.
Not only that but Noah had to build the ark first, which would have been a huge undertaking! How terrifying it must have been, the prospect of everything God was telling him to do. He didn’t let it stop him though. For his obedience, God saved his family and all the animals from the flood. Such faith!
Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”Hebrews 11:17-18 ESV
This story of Abraham and Isaac has always hit me hard. Just as God offered Jesus as a sacrifice for the world, Abraham followed God’s instructions to the point of being ready to sacrifice his son Isaac.
It’s hard to imagine this as a parent. Giving up your son, trusting that God will raise him from the dead! We do everything in our power to protect our kids, but we have to remember that God is the greater power and he will take care of them. God is faithful to those who trust him and stayed Abraham’s hand after he had shown his obedience.
Abraham did not live to see God’s promise fulfilled (the father of nations, Genesis 12:2) but because of his faith, it did happen. What a testament to the assurance of things hoped for. Abraham had no way of knowing whether or not God’s promise would be made real. Such faith!
The Israelites & the Walls of Jericho
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.”Hebrews 11:30 ESV
“Keep walking, but you won’t knock down our wall!” If you are familiar with VeggieTales you may know this song (from the episode “Josh and the Big Wall”). The peas who stood on Jericho’s wall sang it and laughed at the Israelites as they walked around the wall.
When you reread the chapter and think about what the Israelites were doing, it does seem ridiculous! As if walking around and around in circles would make a wall fall. At what point did the Israelites also feel this way? Did they want to turn and run in the other direction instead of marching around a city? I can only imagine the amount of faith it would have taken to keep going.
Likewise, it takes faith not to give up when raising your children to become Godly men and women. Keep being faithful, and believe God to work in their lives.
The Israelites didn’t give in to peer pressure, or to jeering and taunting. They kept their faith and completed the task. Lo and behold the wall fell, just as God promised. Such faith!
Our Faith: Joining in the Legacy of Hebrews 11
There are so many more stories I could talk about, and Hebrews 11 states this as well. People trusted God to provide for them and some of these people died without ever seeing what was promised. Today we have the bible to show us how much God cares for us. These stories remind us of what faith has cost people but also what it provides.
It can be difficult to trust God in our daily lives. When things are running smoothly, we may think we are being faithful but it’s when we encounter a struggle or big decision that our faith is tested. Motherhood can be hard. Even if you’re not a mother, you will encounter life experiences that require faith. Career changes. Big moves. Health issues. Relationship struggles. These are all areas where God may ask us to remain faithful even when the situation looks bleak.
We serve a faithful God. All these stories of faith show God’s faithfulness toward us. When we keep our eyes on him and follow his directions, he will not forsake us. As a mom, I am reminded of this when I reread Hebrews 11. God has plans for my life and my children’s lives if we have faith enough to follow!
As it says in the previous chapter of Hebrews:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”Hebrews 10:23 ESV
So, I encourage you to have faith this week. God may not ask you to build a giant boat and house all the animals in the world, but he does ask us to do daunting tasks. Have faith! Trust that God will give you what you need to succeed. Be assured that the things we hope for; the things we cannot see will be provided!
Alyssa Gale is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom and blogger. When she isn’t singing kid songs or enjoying God’s creation with her boys, she writes. Her passion is to share Christian perspectives on parenting, including stories, recipes, tips and activities. Check her out on Facebook @littlebitoflavender.