Faith to endure
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Sometimes faith is simply about enduring — enduring the setbacks and disappointments, enduring the hurt and pain, enduring the hopes that fail, the dreams that fall apart. It’s hanging on even when you’ve given up, hoping when you no longer have hope, believing when there is nothing left to believe.
It’s hanging on obdurately. It’s holding on irrationally. It’s that deep inner conviction that refuses to believe God has given up on you, that His promise to you was a misunderstanding, that it’s over. Faith is refusing to accept defeat even after the battle is lost and the enemy’s flag flies over you.
Faith is a certain stubbornness in the faithfulness of God, the goodness of God, the love of God. Its fires may burn low at times but it is never extinguished. The days may be long, the nights may be dark but faith sees that small dim flicker of light in the distance, a light that no one else sees or comprehends, and gets up and walks with tentative steps towards it.
The back may be bent and burdened down, the head may be bruised and bloody, the knees may be weak and weary but something inside simply says, “Go on….”
And so in faith and by faith and with faith, the man of little faith stumbles forward towards the God of all faith.
And before the Throne of Grace, knees are bowed as the Son of God intercedes that the man with faith so low may not fail.
And somewhere in spiritual realms of glory, a great cloud of witnesses is gathering to surround that one person struggling to hold on in faith to cheer him onward and upward.
The man might feel lost, alone, misunderstood, outnumbered and overwhelmed by the moment but there in the heavens a multitude of saints from yesterday are already rejoicing over him because they know that God’s grace is more than sufficient for every situation, every circumstance. They know first-hand that today’s straggler in faith will become tomorrow’s overcomer.
And when all is said and done, when the battle is over, when the race is run, when the last sun has set, tomorrow’s overcomer will be glad that he hung on in faith, that he didn’t stop believing, that he kept hoping against all hope, that he kept going.
And he’ll understand why yesterday’s saints cheered him — because God never fails, because every promise of God is yes and amen in Christ, because faith in the God of all faith is never misplaced or unrequited.
- But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” ~ Luke 22:32
- 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ~ Colossians 1:11-12
- 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered…. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8