In recent months we have been looking at what it means to trust God even when life hurts. Jerry Bridges wrote a book by that title, and I have been sharing those thoughts with you. Let’s wrap things up this week.
Let’s face it, sometimes life gets tough. We all face adversity. The question is not will you face difficulty as a Christian, the question is, how will you respond to it? Will adversity cause you to turn away from God in bitterness and anger? Will you quit, or will you trust God?
Hebrews was written to some Christians who joyfully stood firm in the face of public insults and persecution. Their personal property had been confiscated because they were Christians, yet they did not lose their joy. Why? Because they knew they had better and lasting possession in Christ.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Perseverance is the quality of character that enables you to pursue a goal despite obstacles and difficulties. We are called to do more than just bear up under adversity, we are called to press forward in the face of it! The Christian life is like an off-road marathon filled with obstacles, walls to climb over, rivers to swim across, and various other unexpected challenges. It is no wonder that someone observed that few Christians finish well.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
You and I have been called to persevere. Each of us has been given a race to run and a will of God to do. Perseverance is formed in the crucible of adversity. James wrote that “The testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:3). Adversity develops perseverance, but faith energizes it! In between the call to persevere in Hebrews 10:36 and Hebrews 12:1 is the “Hall of Faith,” Hebrews chapter eleven! If you are to run God’s race and do God’s will, you must run it with His strength!
But God wants us all to finish well, and it’s not too late! Not one of us is assured of tomorrow. But we all have today! So run your race well today by persevering in whatever adversity you are facing, looking forward in faith to Jesus.