I sit a few feet from a man on death row. Jewish by birth. Tentmaker by trade. Apostle by calling. His days are marked. I’m curious about what bolsters this man as he nears his execution. So I ask some questions.
Do you have family, Paul? I have none.
What about your health? My body is beaten and tired.
What do you own? I have my parchments. My pen. A cloak.
And your reputation? Well, it’s not much. I’m a heretic to some, a maverick to others.
Do you have friends? I do, but even some of them have turned back.
Any awards? Not on earth.
Then what do you have, Paul? No belongings. No family. Criticized by some. Mocked by others. What do you have, Paul? What do you have that matters?
I sit back quietly and watch. Paul rolls his hand into a fist. He looks at it. I look at it. What is he holding? What does he have? He extends his hand so I can see. As I lean forward, he opens his fingers. I peer at his palm. It’s empty.
I have my faith. It’s all I have. But it’s all I need. I have kept the faith.
Paul leans back against the wall of his cell and smiles. And I lean back against another and stare into the face of a man who has learned that there is more to life than meets the eye.
For that’s what faith is. Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see.
Eyes see the prowling lion. Faith sees Daniel’s angel.
Eyes see storms. Faith sees Noah’s rainbow.
Eyes see giants. Faith sees Canaan.
Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior.
Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees his blood.
Your eyes see your grave. Your faith sees a city whose builder and maker is God.
Your eyes look in the mirror and see a sinner, a failure, a promise-breaker. But by faith you look in the mirror and see a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of your Father on your face.
Today’s devotional is drawn from Max Lucado’s Next Door Savior.