Jump Start # 2961
Hebrews 12:3 “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.”
The running theme in these first few sentences of Hebrews 12 is endurance. The word endurance implies something taking some time. An endurance race is long. And sprinkled with endurance is patience. Without patience a person cannot endure. We see that all around us. Impatient drivers sitting in a long line of traffic. There will always be one guy who drives through the grass to get ahead of everyone else. You go to a restaurant and you are told that it will be a forty-five minute wait. Most leave and go some where else.
One of the challenges of our spiritual journey is endurance. If we went to Heaven the day after we were baptized, we’d think that there wasn’t much to this walk with Jesus stuff. But for most of us, our journey involves decades and decades of walking with Jesus. Sometimes it’s not the difficult days, but the plain, ordinary days that we tend to lose our focus. We must finish. There is no glory in starting and then dropping out. There is no consolation prize. You don’t get a T-shirt for just being a Christian. God expects you to finish what you started. The devil will do everything he can to get you to stop. Hardships. Challenges. The length of the journey can impact whether or not we stay with it and finish.
Here are five reminders about finishing the journey:
First, sometimes the darkness lasts a long time. I think about that Psalms 23 passage and walking through the valley of the shadows of death. Those words seem dark. It paints a picture of darkness for us. Valleys can be dark. Shadows are dark. Death is dark. The bent over woman had her ailment for eighteen years. The woman with the issue of blood had her problem for twelve years. The sick man at the pool of Bethesda, had been ill for thirty-eight years. For others, it’s a lifetime. A lifetime of not being able to see. A lifetime of not being able to walk. Those who cannot endure, will give up on God.
Second, sometimes God’s silence makes us wonder. The bent over woman was in the synagogue. She had gone there to worship. Don’t you imagine that she had prayed and prayed and prayed and yet nothing. For eighteen years nothing. Was she not praying right? Was there sin in her life? Was the Lord waiting for her to do something? All of those questions and thoughts might go racing through our minds if we were in her shoes. Our impatience expect God to answer our prayer by the next morning.
Third, sometimes others are ready to quit. Job’s wife was. She was out of patience, faith and endurance. Time to toss in the towel and just die. Those were her words to Job. This can make endurance even more difficult. Family members who are encouraging us to turn our backs on God. Family members who have no patience and no faith, hate to see us hanging on to hope when they do not believe there will be any hope. It’s hard to be strong when you are surrounded by weakness. It’s hard to get encouragement when all you hear is discouragement.
Fourth, sometimes quitting is very tempting. That’s being honest. You wonder what good is all of this doing for you? Thoughts you never had before start showing up in your mind. The bottle. The pills. Even suicide starts to seem reasonable. When things are great, you never have those thoughts. But now you do. You don’t see any end to your pain or sorrow. The journey seems so long. You’ve hit the wall, as runners understand. You start thinking, ’I can’t go on.’ And, when you have others around you encouraging you to stop worshipping, all of that becomes something to think about.
Fifth, endurance is the ability to look beyond the immediate and see the goal. What you are going through won’t last. It’s temporary and someday will all be behind you. Forever in Heaven, is just that, forever. Once a person has landed safely at an airport, it doesn’t matter how crowded the plane was, how bumpy the flight was, you are on the ground and that’s all that matters. So it will be with our journey. Once we are in Heaven, all of this stuff will not matter. Not at all. Worry focuses upon the problem. Faith sees God. Our problems stay here. They don’t go with us to Heaven.
Without endurance we cannot finish. Jesus endured, even to the point of shedding His blood. We haven’t reached that point. Hang in there. Keep going. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Yes, it’s another day. It’s another week. It’s another month. It’s another year. Make the most of it by being a great example. Make the most of it by glorifying God. Make the most of it by helping others.
When God is ready, He’ll call us home. Until then, we have things to do. Endure. Endure well.