When You Need to Last the Long Haul
It’s hard to believe we are less than 2 months away from a new year. This year has gone by so fast. Andria and I were talking the other night and trying to figure out if we could summarize the past 10 months into one word. Unfortunately the first word that came to mind was ‘work’. With both of us working full time jobs it seems that ‘work’ has taken over the better part of our lives this year. We definitely have had some fun moments, along with some great times with our friends and family but the life balance was definitely bent towards work. I’m all for work especially if you are doing something you love. But when you’re working day in and day out and at times struggling to keep your dreams in perspective, you definitely start feeling the ‘irk’ in the work. Some days the challenge can be a little overwhelming.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Whether it’s work or life, I believe the key ingredient for lasting the long haul is faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. At the time this passage of scripture was written, persecution towards Christians was at an all time high. Never before was the pressure to conform and give up so great – and it was only going to get worse. Yet in the midst of it all Christianity continued to spread like wildfire. How is that possible? There was hope. Christians believed the Kingdom of God was at hand and that the Messiah would return at any moment to gather them and set up that kingdom. Their focus was to evangelize and endure each and every persecution in hopes to see His Kingdom come and His will be done. Even if endurance meant death. For many all they had was faith. Faith became the substance. It was the evidence of what they hoped for. For with it they endured hostility. They endured torture. I find it ironic to think that not a one of them lived long enough to see the very thing they were in faith for.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
12 Therefore we also, since 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, 2 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.
So it didn’t end with them. Here we find ourselves in this same race. Not only are we in the same race, it sounds as though we might be the final leg! Today our enemy isn’t the Roman Empire nor is it the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin. Today our adversary attacks with insurmountable weights and pressures of this world. Many of us are bombarded with mental, emotional and financial weights. Some of us overwhelmed by all of the cares and pressures of this life. Others are pressured daily to quit or give up. All the while sin continues to kick, beg and harass in hopes to ensnare us in trading this away for a life of deserved selfishness and pleasure.
So let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. The key ingredient to enduring the challenges and lasting the long haul is faith. It’s our faith that becomes the guarantee of what we’ve been hoping for. It’s the guarantee that our best days are still ahead of us. That God is far from finished with us. It’s knowing that these problems cannot compare with His promises. It’s with that faith that we run this race like never before. By faith we endure every one of life’s detours. By faith we get back up. By faith we don’t give up. We don’t lose hope.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, Blessed is the man who trusts in You!