Chapter 11 of Hebrews is the "Faith Hall of Fame." The author of Hebrews shows that by faith people from of old have done amazing and marvelous things. Faith, says the author, is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (1)." We learn in verse 6 "without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (6)." We then get a long list of people of faith living by faith: Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshuah, and Rehab. We hear of great deeds and miraculous events in the lives of people of faith -- it is inspiring and it is encouraging to read these stories.
The chapter turns on verse 35. We learn of "women receiving their dead by resurrection (35a)." And then we learn that people of faith endured great hardships and struggles as well. They were tortured, suffered mocking, stoned to death, cut in half, wandered about in deserts and caves and holes in the ground . . . and my favorite phrase "of whom the world was not worthy (38)."
It is helpful to remember in the faith hall of fame that faith may lead us to great adventures and great victories in the world. Faith may also be the means by which we endure and survive life's struggles and an evil and anti-Christ world. In the words of one writer when we are thrown into the Lion's den -- sometimes God stops the mouths of lions and sometimes we are Purina lion chow. God is with us in either situation and in either consequence.