The roll call of the faith-full:
- Abel, in giving of his best
- Enoch, in testifying about faith when it was not yet embodied in the form of Jesus
- Noah, in preparing for a disaster foretold by God and taking a stand against popular opinion
- Abraham, for leaving his comfort zone and journeying without clear knowledge of the destination, spending most of his life a nomad
- Sarah, for accepting her conception at an advanced age as a gift from God
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Heb 11:13-16
These obeyed without receiving the promises, but ‘saw them afar’ and ‘were assured’ and ’embraced them’.
saw them: horao (Greek), meaning metaphorically to see with the mind, to perceive with inward spiritual perception
embraced: aspazomai (Greek), meaning to joyfully greet/welcome
Their desires were plainly to be seen – and if given the chance, if they had ‘called to mind that country from which they had come out’, they would be keen to return.
Called to mind: mnemoneuo (Greek), meaning hold in remembrance, make mention of
But now they ‘desire’ a heavenly country.
Desire: oregontai (Greek) meaning stretch forth, long for, aspire to
Even the most faithful, if allowed to dwell on the past and on what was once comfortable, will want to return to it. But they would be missing out on what is ‘better’.
Better: kreitton (Greek), meaning stronger, more excellent (what is better because more fully developed)
I do find myself dwelling in the past intermittently, and maybe in order to break the cycle, I need to fix my mind on what could be better and not to make mention of, or hold in remembrance what has gone past.