|Posted by bibleroad on June 26, 2015 at 9:40 PM|
This morning in my devotions I read Hebrews 11 – the “faith chapter.” Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
In Hebrews 11, we read of the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah and the list goes on and on. Each one of them were men and women as we are, with like passions as we, they had hopes and dreams, some were fulfilled others went unfulfilled – yet they remained faithful. At the end of the chapter the writer of Hebrews goes on to say some subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises…others were tortured not accepting deliverance, some were stoned, sawn in two wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins being destitute, afflicted and tormented; yet they remained faithful. They may not have received the promise in this life, but as they remained faithful they received the promise in the life after – they entered into the rest. I can imagine in my mind’s eye that the moment they crossed through the veil that separates this earthly life from the heavenly life they heard the voice of the Father saying, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
My devotional reading stopped at the end of Hebrews chapter 11, but I couldn’t help but take a peek at tomorrow’s devotional reading, which is the beginning of chapter 12. I know what’s there but it gives me great comfort to see it with my eyes and to read it to myself once again; “Seeing then that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
That’s encouragement to me; encouragement to remember the bigger picture. There is joy set before me, joy unspeakable. When I was pregnant with my children the trend was to participate in “natural childbirth,” that is childbirth with no painkillers, no medication unless it was absolutely necessary (still a great choice, I believe, as millions of mothers before us did the same). To manage the pain we were taught to focus or fix our eyes on something beyond us, of course there was the special breathing (who-who-hee-hee…who-who-hee-hee), but the main thing was to focus on that object beyond the pain. I see that in these first two verses of Hebrews 12. Jesus knew He had to endure the cross and the pain was immense and torturous but he focused on the joy that was set before Him; He was able to set His mind on the big picture and endure the pain.
We can look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; we can emulate Him, we can emulate the great faithfulness of others who have gone on before us, this great cloud of witnesses and thus we are encouraged by these brothers and sisters in Christ as we endure hardships.
Be strong my brother and sister, there is a crown to be obtained. Catch the big picture, this life we live here on earth is as the apostle James stated, “…but a vapor. (James 4:14).” Stay strong until the end and then when we meet in heaven and walk the beautiful streets of gold you can tell me the story of your victory and how you overcame…I’m looking forward to hearing of the Lord’s faithfulness to you!