“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously, people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16
Faith has the ability to see the invisible, the impossible and the improbable. Faith takes what doesn’t make sense to the natural mind and becomes the substance that moves the invisible forward until it becomes reality. There are many things in God’s kingdom that require faith. The Word is full of promises that only become reality when mixed with faith and believed.
All of these men and women previously mentioned in Hebrews 11 died in faith, waiting for their promises to come to pass. It does not mean that the promise of God did not happen in their lifetime. God always fulfills His promises. In Abraham’s lifetime, he only got the down payment of the promise. Isaac was the beginning of its fulfillment but what was promised reached so far into the future that Abraham died in faith looking forward to a time when all would be fulfilled. That takes faith, and faith is what pleases God.
These examples of faith show that these great men and women understood they were temporary residents on earth. They looked forward to their true home in heaven with God. They greeted the reality of their promises from a distance knowing they would eventually come to pass whether they were alive to see it or not.
What the world looks at as strange, God looks at with favor. As in the examples from the patriarchs, these men and women of faith gave up everything in pursuit of something better. They left family, comfort and familiarity to chase after the promise of God. They looked forward in faith, not looking back, to give themselves the opportunity to return to what they left.