I grew up in central Texas where we had very hot summers and calling it a dry heat doesn’t make it any less oppressive in my book! During July and August especially, any respite from the intense heat was a very welcome event – even rain storms. Many times we would see a storm in the distance and watch as it approached – anticipating the coolness and refreshing that it would bring. In a sense we would welcome the rain before it arrived - actually feeling relief from the heat as we saw the wall of rain move closer and smelled the rain as it drew near. This is the picture of faith that is described in today’s reading – the picture of grasping something not yet received; welcoming something while it is still in the distance.
This picture of faith brings with it the question of unrealized hope. How do we respond to those situations and circumstances where we do not receive the things we believe we have been promised?
Today’s reading gives us two clues to help prepare for those instances. The first clue is the idea of placement: on what have we placed our hope? The reading tells that God is faithful. He is the one sure foundation on which we can trust. The second clue is the idea of perspective: where are we looking for the fruition of our hope? The reading tells that we should look to the heavenly city that God has prepared for us or saying it a different way, we should strive to maintain an eternal perspective.
Summer storms in Texas are not trustworthy. They stop short or just pass by. A better faith is demonstrated by the people in today’s reading who admit they are foreigners and strangers on earth, longing for a better place – a heavenly country where they will dwell in the city God has prepared for them. May we be like them.