August 12, 2019
Faith when we cannot see the outcome
by Natalie Justice
Pastor of Smyth County Circuit
Clinch Mountain District
“God Almighty has set before me two Great Objects: the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.” ― William Wilberforce
The writer of Hebrews takes us on a journey of faith. How many of our Old Testament heroes had faith in God and continued to do what God called them to do. The faith that the writer of Hebrews is describing is a faith in God against the world. A belief that goes beyond the senses. A belief that goes beyond what we can physically see and experience. The faith described is a faith in the future even when the present is speaking a different message.
William Wilberforce is one of my biggest heroes from history. Wilberforce was an incredible man of his time, and a person of great faith. All though dramatized, the movie Amazing Grace depicts Wilberforce fighting with the decision about whether not to continue a life and career in politics or to step away and live a life for God.
One of the most powerful scenes was when Wilberforce went to see John Newton. John Newton said, “Wilbur, you’ve got work to do.” And he did. Members of the abolitionist met with Wilberforce and shared they understood he was struggling with leaving the political arena for a life of solitude and devotion to God. They encouraged him to do both.
William Wilberforce fought his entire life for the ending of the slave trade. He was mocked by his colleagues. But he endured and continued on. He was called to put his faith into action and change the world. Three days before he died, after fighting years of illness and fighting the slave trade, he finally was able to see the ending. He was able to see the slave trade abolished in Great Britain.
The faith that the Hebrews writer is sharing and the life that William Wilberforce lived out was not blind faith. It was faith in the midst of not being able to know the outcome. Wilberforce knew that to change everything he had to change the hearts and minds of the people. To be able to do that is to know that God is in control and moving through it all. It took time and many years, but it happened. This faith was not a blind faith, but a faith knowing that it was what God was calling him to do. That no matter what, God is in control. For everything belongs to God, and it is in His hands.
May God help us be like the Old Testament heroes and people like William Wilberforce. Help us even when we face the naysayers to trust in God’s message and be obedient. Help us be willing to be used by God to change the world.