35b But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free.
They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.
36 Some were jeered at,
and their backs were cut open with whips.
Others were chained in prisons.
37 Some died by stoning,
some were sawed in half,
some were tested,
and others were killed with the sword.
Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.
38 They were too good for this world,
wandering over deserts and mountains,
hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
That is a pretty bleak picture.
To give you some context, this chapter in Hebrews is known as the “faith chapter”.
In it, for 35 verses, the author of Hebrews names one after another of the famous people in the Bible who were known for their faith & the results of it.
It does give the impression that if we have faith, all will be just marvelous, wonderful, & full of glory.
And for some people, it is.
But I'm not sure if I thought of this myself (highly doubtful!) or if I read it or heard someone say this about all that...
The examples of towering faith mentioned in verses 1 – 35a were the exceptions of the results of having faith.
And that those from verse 35b – 38 were the rule.
And if we think about it, there's a great deal of truth in that. Think about the many, many, MANY people we know who walk their walk in obscurity as followers of Jesus.
They will spend their lives being obedient to whatever the Lord tells them to be & do.
And the overwhelming majority will not live glamorous lives or enjoy stupendous success or renown.
In fact, they will live ignominious lives, often treated badly, or maybe killed, or merely ignored.
Having faith does not charm our lives.
It merely identifies them as a life lived in complete truth.
We seem to imbue a life of faith as a guarantee for a life of success.
Success in this life & a life of faith are seldom synonymous – often times it's just the opposite.
So why do I bring up all these happy thoughts? ;-)
Maybe it's to encourage us all to continue to live the lives of faith in which we find ourselves.
We only see the immediate events & situations in which we exist – we don't see the big picture – only God sees that.
And that “no matter what happens”, we must continue to be & do what God leads us to be & do for His Kingdom.
(“no matter what happens” - four words that seem to define my life these last 7+ years!)