Hebrews 11:13-14 “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.”
Real faith is not stagnant. It is never enough to say you believe something without proving your conviction by action. When you have confidence in a trustworthy person, your response will prove your trust. And well-placed faith results in great rewards.
The late 1800s and early 1900s brought with it a great movement of immigrants to the United States of America. Many of these new arrivals had heard about the abundant opportunity and blessings that could be found in our great country. They scrimped and saved and endured very difficult circumstances to make it to the land of promise. They believed they could have better lives and they were willing to sacrifice everything to start over on foreign soil.
Great-Grandma Thomson and her family were a few of these who left their native land to start their lives anew. Grandma’s father, Archibald Speirs, went on ahead. After working hard and getting settled in northern New Jersey, he provided for his wife and two daughters to cross the great ocean to join him.
So on Dec. 29, 1920, your great-grandma, her sister, Robina, and her mother, Margaret, said goodbye to friends and family in Glasgow, Scotland, and set sail on the S.S. Columbia for New York City. The traveling trio arrived in New York Harbor on Jan. 8, 1921, where they nervously waited for Archibald to collect them, so they could begin their new life.
While our family members did not suffer on the journey as much as many others in this time of American history, they were still willing to sacrifice everything familiar and travel across a great ocean because they believed they were called to something better. In this country your Great-Grandma met Great-Grandpa who told her about Jesus and she put her trust in Him as her Savior. These steps of faith helped give us the spiritual legacy that we enjoy today.
Hebrews 11 is often called the Faith Chapter. Its verses tell of many who put their trust in God and proved their faith by their actions. They believed God’s promises and had complete confidence He would do what He said. By faith these ones obeyed God’s commands, hoped even against hope in difficult situations, and endured great trials because they knew the future held great reward.
Some did not receive the fulfillment of the promises on this earth. But they were not discouraged because they understood they were only strangers here. They were not ashamed to identify with their God and believed He had prepared a heavenly city for them. They gained approval through their faith and the eternal reward was awaiting them in God’s better heavenly country.
One hundred years ago our ancestors travelled the Atlantic to another land because they believed in a better life. We are the heirs of this great step of faith. But we each have our own voyage to travel. Are you settled here on this earth or do you consider yourself a migrant just passing through? God promises something superior through Jesus Christ our Savior. It is attained by faith. So believe His promises, obey His word, and persevere … because there’s a much better country on the other side.
Sandra Sheridan is a midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.