“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light…and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” Hebrews 11:32-36.
These were the words of Paul as he encouraged the early Christians to reflect on the time when they first accepted Christ. Upon their conversion they were persecuted and their possessions were stolen from them. But they had new zeal…a new message…a new Savior. Those days were exciting and scary but they felt alive for the first time in their lives. But time went on and the suffering continued, turning their zeal into weariness and doubt. Was it worth it all to follow Christ when it clearly meant pain, suffering and sacrifice?
Just like the early Christians, we too need reminders that it is worth it to follow Christ. We need to be encouraged that we cannot give up as time goes by and the battles get harder. For the young single mother who gets that diagnosis…for the overworked man whose wife leaves him with the children…for the couple in debt who lose their jobs…for the person whose sister gets cancer during her father’s terminal illness. We can all fill in the blank of how life throws one curve after another. We read that if we are followers of Christ we can expect suffering and pain. ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you’ 1 Peter 4:12. ‘In this world you will have trouble’ John 16:6. And yet, swirling in our subconscious is the secret perception that if we get more God in our lives we will be immunized from suffering. We don’t admit it but we secretly feel it. As we witness those living by the flesh our feelings can easily morph into bitterness and resentment and even a spirit of ‘Is it all worth it?’
We have an example in Jesus who persevered in doing the will of God and He now reigns in Heaven receiving everything God promised. Christ’s willingness to hang on to His confidence in the face of suffering gives us an eternal harvest for which we did not sow. Through His stripes and wounds come our eternal rewards. So whatever your challenges are this morning don’t throw out your confidence but remember the One who persevered for each of us.
‘Let us not become weary…for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’ Galatians 6:9.