How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. Hebrews 11:32 (NLT)
The record of the men and women of faith in Hebrews 11 inspires me every time I read it. These people faced situations that required purposeful decisions to trust God in unbelievable circumstances. It was often life or death. Finally in the Promised Land, you would think the children of Israel would have finally figured out how to please God. But the book of Judges notes that they continue to disobey and worship other gods until life becomes unbearable and they beg for help. Each time God sends His emissary to clean up the mess. He never lets go of His special people even when they can’t seem to get it right. The author of Hebrews 11 recounts the stories of men and women who earned a good reputation because of their faith. He runs out of time and finally lists several more men, including Jephthah. It is an intriguing story of faith with a plot twist at the end that had me scratching my head. As Jephthah returned from battle, his excited daughter ran out to meet him and congratulate him on his great victory. Yet, rather than embracing her and dancing with her, grief overwhelms him and he tears his clothes because of a vow that he had made to the Lord as he entered into battle. This vow is the complicated part of the story but her response is what captured my attention. We never see her complain, even though her life immediately changes and she knows she will never marry or have children. I like feel-good-endings to stories but this one made me stop and ponder. Obviously, God was pleased with both of them because He listed them in His Hall of Fame. Why? They followed directions, gave glory to God, and earned the reputation of a pure heart. How do we respond when life doesn’t make sense? Rant? Rave? Question? Sometimes, I find myself doing all three but the longer I walk in His footsteps, the easier it is to say, “Yes, Lord.