Physical endurance has never been one of my strong points. Even as a child, I wasn’t overly athletic except, perhaps, for swimming—I was a good swimmer and worked hard to receive my Red Cross lifeguard badge. Other than swimming, however, sports seemed difficult for me. I wasn’t one to run the race and complete it. I rarely played an entire game of volleyball without growing weary and quitting before the end of the game.
I look at Hebrews 11 listing the heroes of the faith and wonder if that type of endurance could be found in my own heart. They had all been heirs to the promise of God, yet they were mocked, imprisoned, stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, slain with the sword, destitute, afflicted, tormented, wandered in deserts and in mountains, etc. What a life for a hero, for one who had been regarded as one of the 'great cloud of witnesses' (Hebrews 12:1) who had walked this life leaving behind a legacy worthy of inclusion in the Word of God.
When I read of what these saints endured for the sake of the faith, I cringe at my own inability to endure physical challenges or my moaning and groaning because things don't go quite the way I want or expect.
"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise" (Hebrews 11:39)
Endurance is more than a physical challenge. It’s a spiritual discipline, and not an easy one at that. The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 endured to the end, many of them not ever receiving the manifestation of the promises of God in their own lifetimes. Yet, they persevered. They endured.
We don’t know when God intends to fulfill His promises to us. One would hope to see God move in our lifetimes. Yet, many of these men and women who are hailed for having great faith never wavered in their commitment although they went to their grave without having received those things God had personally promised. They never wavered. They didn’t doubt. They endured.
God’s promises, according to the Word, are “yes and amen” (1 Corinthians 1:20). He has a perfect timetable for every promise He has made to the Church and to us personally. When God makes a promise, He keeps that promise. His promises may even span the time beyond our lives, but that doesn’t mean His promises aren’t true.
Do we have the enduring faith like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11? Consider this to be our challenge … to develop strong faith, not in the manifestation of the promise, but in the One who promised. When God says He’ll do something, it’s as good as done.
Develop enduring faith. It’s the type of faith that pleases God and glorifies Him as the true Promise-Keeper.
Father, there are times I struggle with enduring faith. I grow weary of waiting for Your promise to be manifest in my life. Forgive me. Teach me, Lord, to trust You so the legacy I leave behind when I die will be like those in Hebrews 11 who, “having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise” yet had true enduring faith. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.