Been going through incredible trials? Ever felt like “throwing in the towel” and just giving up… Perhaps even walking away from your “faith?” Don’t do it!!!
It’s interesting that my Bible reading during “coffee with the Lord” and the passage we studied in the Sunday school class I teach (“Truth Seekers” at Trinity Church, Cedar Hill, Texas) were to same today! Maybe God had someone who receives my “Coffee with the Lord” posts in mind!
The writer of Hebrews in the Bible wrote to some Jewish Christians who had been through “hell on earth” since they put their trust in Jesus as their Messiah: He told them… “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.”
And it’s clear it hadn’t gotten better! Imagine, trouble, trials and persecution from Day 1 of their faith in Christ! They hoped for better, they believed for better – but instead it just got worse! The temptation to “throw in the towel” had to be intense!
The advice the writer of Hebrews gave them?
“Let us go right into the presence of God [the “new and living way”] with sincere hearts fully trusting Him… Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near… Do not throw away your trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay! And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” (quoted from Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3) But we are NOT like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved!” (From Hebrews 10:19–39 NLT)
I wouldn’t presume to know and understand what some of you are going through right now! I admit that I have no comprehension of what devoted followers of Jesus are facing elsewhere in the world because of the insane hatred and brutality of groups like ISIS. Christian children, youth, and adults in the workplace today also face intimidation, marginalization, and outright persecution. But I also know this… What this passage urges us to do is wonderful advice – regardless of what life brings! And with God’s help, and the encouragement of fellow Christians, I intend to “live by faith,” draw near to God, and practice “patient endurance.” And I believe my “confidence in the Lord” will one day be richly rewarded.