The End of the Journey of Faith

Faith is often described as a journey: a winding experience of the unseen, the unknown, and the unexpected. But in the pressure of the present, we often forget that every journey comes to an end. Even the journey of faith arrives at its conclusion.

Hebrews 11:6 simplifies this journey of faith in a beautiful way: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Two steps are implied here. First, the journey begins with a simple realization: God is real. The rest of the journey is compiled by one growing realization: God rewards the seeker, and God is worth banking on.

Now that we have passed the starting point and believe that God exists, the essence of our faith is summed up in a simple question: Is it truly worth it to me to do God’s things God’s way, even if it costs me something? Is integrity always worth more than money? Is purity better than porn? Is singing at the nursing home better than a Sunday afternoon nap? The deeper our conviction about a Rewarding Father, the greater the consistency with which we will do things His way.

I ducked through the doorway of the one-room adobe house, and took a chair beside the bed of the dying man. He was a friend of many years, but he looked extra old and shriveled, lying on his homemade bed of twine and straw mat. He recognized me, but his eyes were closed. He spoke to me haltingly, as he concentrated on drawing oxygen into his failing lungs.

Santos had accepted the Lord years before, after a life of drunkenness and sin. His was a faith that cost him something, and was precious to him. Even in later years when his health was failing, I would often find him in the hammock under the mango tree, with his Bible and Sunday school book, preparing for Sunday. He loved the Lord and loved the brethren, and willingly took his place among them as health allowed.

I was unsure of how to comfort a man facing  the end of life, so I looked up 1 Cor. 15. I read that stirring proclamation of Jesus’ victory over death, and the promise of everlasting life. And what those verses do for the dying, that last verse does for the living: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. “Labour is not in vain . . .” Those words niggled in my mind long after I had left.

Six days later, Santos’ journey of faith ended. The curtain between the worlds lifted, and what he had always accepted by faith he now knew by sight. 

The moment of death is the moment of truth in this journey of faith. The little, obscure choices that helped form a person’s character now stand starkly against the backdrop of Truth. A lifetime of decisions are either horrifyingly exposed or gratifyingly
justified. Those who lived by faith are rewarded by a God who does not forget.

Carlos Urizar made choices that moved him from place to place throughout his life. Santos Barahona stood by a decision to abandon his drink and live for the Lord, losing friends and risking misunderstanding. Darlene Kauffman said yes to a journey that
would lead her to far-flung, uncomfortable places in a life of sacrifice and service. Theirs was a step of faith, a life of trust. Was it worth it?

A life of faith is often a difficult walk, but every journey reaches a conclusion. In that day, no cup of cold water will be forgotten, no godly decision ignored. And then, what of the price of believing, the sacrifice of serving, and the cost of identifying with Christ? All will surely be swept away in the reality of the “Well Done” of Jesus, and eternity will reveal the value of a life spent walking with God.

~ Brian Yoder


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