"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
"All these died in faith not having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them."
"They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain." (Isaiah 11:9)
To live by faith, is to experience in the present moment that which will one day come. It is to claim as real, that which is promised, even though we have still so far to go.
There is nothing so incongruous as to live as a people of the promise in the context of its opposite. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain. And yet they do. We pride ourselves on being a "Christian nation" all the while living within the context of ongoing violence, hatreds, and disharmony, and, I might add, all the while maintaining the most lethal military force the world has ever seen. Incongruous.
Yet we live by faith. And in faith, we lean into the future, drawn toward that which is promised. It is like entering a house, and smelling the aroma of a pie, still baking in the oven, and tasting that which is yet to be.
As a country we live in the promise of a government, "of the people, by the people, and for the people," all the while, knowing that what we have is an oligarchy.
As a Church we live in the promise of the unity we all share in Christ Jesus our Lord, all the while experiencing the disunity of a fractured Body that is the Church.
Leaning into the future, having not received the promises, but having seen them from a distance. And in the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen, the promise becomes the context within which we live. By faith, we dwell in that kingdom where "they will not hurt and destroy" even as blood runs in our streets.
What is real? That which we see? The end of which is death and destruction?
Or that which we believe? The end of which is life and salvation?
To live in faith is to wrap ourselves in the promise of that which is of yet, a reality only within the heart of God. But it is to live in the conviction that the promise which is in the heart of God is as real as the air we breath. And that though it is unseen, it gives life.