August 10, 2004
Nursing Home Service
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Wishes, dreams and regrets. And hope.
Since my husband is active duty with the US
Air Force, we have moved often and lived in many different places. One of my favorite tours was to
If we have any regrets from our time in
St. Peter Lutheran Church is located near
The congregation at St. Peter Lutheran
Church has wishes and dreams of their own.
They want to make a difference in the world. They want to help people, share the Gospel of
Jesus Christ and bring others the hope of salvation.
At a recent service, the assistant pastor,
Rev. Carol Fryer, said, “We cannot live in fear. We must let our faith shine through in the
midst of all this. We will continue to
do what we normally do as a sign of hope.”
She said that their presence at worship was a sign of their faith. Those worshippers were witnesses to the hope
that exists beyond this world.
This is exactly what it means that we, as
Christians, live in this world even though we are not of this world. We are heirs to a greater kingdom, something
real and lasting that is beyond our reach while we live in the flesh. We have a hope that can’t be seen, except
through the faith that is manifested through our lives.
If Abram had told his next door neighbor
that he would be the father of millions, that guy would have laughed in his
face. After all, well beyond the age of child
bearing, Abram was still childless. He
expected that a servant in his household would be the heir to all he had
accumulated. I can imagine Abram crying
out as he points to all his possessions, “Meaningless, it is all meaningless
because I do not have an heir.”
Yet, God had not forgotten His promise to
Abram. "This man will not be your
heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." The promise
still stands even though it seemed impossible.
God confirmed it with the most extraordinary sign. He took Abram outside and told him to look at
the sky. "So shall your offspring
Now, we have to remember that Abram did not
live in the middle of the city. He lived
in the desert where there were no street lights to hide the twinkling
stars. If we were to go look at the
night sky here in
I wonder if Abraham and Sara had any
regrets. I wonder if they thought that
they made mistakes that made God withhold His promises. I wonder if they still had wishes and dreams
that they longed to see fulfilled, but for which they had little hope.
The promise of a multitude of offspring was
not immediately fulfilled. Abram and
Sarah would never meet his grandchildren’s grandchildren. He would never know the many generations of
his flesh and blood that would fill the earth in the years to come. He was having enough trouble believing he’d have
an heir of his own flesh. Yet, he had
faith in God’s promises. “Abram believed
the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Abram and Sarah continued to walk in faith
despite the fact that they might never personally see the fruition of God’s
plan. They lived in the confidence they
had in God’s faithfulness.
The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews
tells of the men of faith who came before us.
The writer tells of Abel and Enoch, Noah and Abraham. The early chapters of Genesis are filled with
impossible promises from God to these men.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “All these people were still living by faith
when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them
and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and
strangers on earth.” The writer
continues, “People who say such things show that they are looking for a country
of their own. If they had been thinking
of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country
– a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he
has prepared a city for them.” Their
hope is not in this world, but in the next.
They did not look back at what might have been,
they had no regrets. They knew that they
could not trust in the things of this world.
Instead, they sought after something greater while living daily the life
they had been given by God.
As the writer of
Hebrews tells us, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of
things not seen.” You know, I really
would love to return to
If faith is the assurance of things hoped
for, we should ask ourselves, what is it for which we hope? The people of this world live in fear of the
possibilities. They hope that tomorrow
they will be alive to live and work again.
They hope the bombs won’t explode on their doorstep. They hope they will be successful, prosperous
and blessed in every physical way.
True hope has nothing to do with those
things. Those who have faith in God live
in the hope of His promises. What is
your ultimate concern? What is it that
moves you forward each day? What are
your wishes and dreams? What are your
regrets? We all have things that tie us
to this world, things we long to see fulfilled.
Yet, we need to remember that the things of this world are perishable,
they are not lasting. Our wealth and our
health will fail us one day.
Blessed are those who trust in God because
they know there is something better.
They know to hope in that which exists beyond this world – the kingdom
that will never die. Throughout history
there have been no nations or people that have lasted forever. Times change, enemies destroy, and hope in
the future fails. Our wishes and dreams
go unfulfilled. However, even when these
things happen we still have something in which we can have hope. It could take only a moment for everything we
know to be gone. Yet, we continue to walk in faith and to live in peace,
knowing that our only hope rests in Jesus Christ our Lord. He is worthy of our thanksgiving and praise
because His promise for eternal life is true.
Thanks be to God.