By faith [Abraham] lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow-heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.Hebrews 11:9-10
by John MacArthur, Drawing Near: Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith
Key Principle: Focusing on Heaven is the best way to endure difficulties on earth.
Following God’s call isn’t always easy. He expects us to trust Him explicitly, and yet He doesn’t ask our advice on decisions that may impact us dramatically. He doesn’t tell us His specific plans at any given point in our lives. He doesn’t always shelter us from adversity. He tests our faith to produce endurance and spiritual maturity—tests that are sometimes painful. He makes some promises that we’ll never see fulfilled in this life.
If following God’s call is a challenge for us, imagine how it was for Abraham, who had no Bible, no pastor, no sermons, no commentaries, and no Christian encouragement or accountability. But what he did have was the promise of a nation, a land, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3). That was good enough for him.
Abraham never settled in the land of promise. Neither did his son Isaac or his grandson Jacob. They were aliens, dwelling in tents like nomads. Abraham never built houses or cities. The only way he would possess the land was by faith. Yet Abraham patiently waited for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
As important as the earthly land was to him, Abraham was patient because his sight was on his heavenly home, “the city . . . whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). He knew beyond any doubt that he would inherit that city, whether or not he ever saw his earthly home in his lifetime.
Similarly, being heavenly minded gives you the patience to continue working for the Lord when things get tough. It’s the best cure I know for discouragement or spiritual fatigue. That’s why Paul says to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). If your mind is set on Heaven, you can endure whatever happens here.
Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for your heavenly home. Seek His grace to help you keep a proper perspective amid the difficulties of this life.
For Further Study: Read the portion of Abraham’s life recorded in Genesis 12–17.