And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets.
In the next few verses we see example after example of miracles and triumphs: “… who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection” (11:33-35a).
The life of faith is a life of incredible triumphs. Sometimes.
At other times, there is tragedy and suffering. The very next verses list example after example of heartache and pain.
Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated – of whom the world was not worthy – wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (11:35b-38).
That’s the life of faith. Sometimes there is triumph and victory. At other times there is heartbreak and tragedy. Through it all, people of faith trust their God.
If we are going to walk by faith and not by sight, then we will trust God in the good times and in the bad times. We will not compare our experience with that of others. We will know that God is God and we are not. We will know that we humans cannot possibly understand all that an infinite God does.
And we will trust him no matter what.