Hebrews 11:10 says of Abraham, “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Abraham lived out his life as a sojourner. He knew God had promised Canaan to his descendants but he never lived to see its fulfillment. Though he never settled in the Promised Land he was just as certain in the future fulfillment of that promise as if he had seen it with his own eyes. This is because his sight was not confined to the present. Rather, Abraham live in the future, waiting with earnest anticipation.
As Christians we ought to be more like Abraham. Like him “we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Heb. 13:14). We have a promise of “entering into His rest” (Heb. 4:1) and thus we are strangers and sojourners in this world. But unlike Abraham we often struggle to keep our eyes firmly focused on the future. This present world is full of anxiety, responsibility, relationships, and allurements of every kind which weigh us down keep us distracted. But, this world is not our home “for our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20).
Another word for “earnest anticipation” is “hope.” When the Bible speaks of hope it speaks of certainty, not wishfulness or even likelihood. Our hope is in Heaven (Col. 1:5). Our hope is eternal life in the Father’s house (Tit. 1:2, John 14:1-3). Our hope is certain and secure (1 Pet. 1:3-5) and the ever present knowledge of it helps to keep us grounded and motivated (Heb. 6:19-20). Thus we rejoice in it (Rom. 5:2) and we keep it every affixed before our eyes.
Abraham did not live long enough to see the ultimate fulfillment of the promises made to him, but he saw them through the eyes of faith. His spiritual vision kept his life pointed in the right direction. We must learn to be more like him and live in such a way that the earnest anticipation of Heaven keeps us moving forward in spite of whatever difficulties we may encounter along life’s way.