The twelfth chapter of Hebrews opens with its writer giving us a glimpse of an electrifying picture in Heaven.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us... Hebrews 12:1
Here we are told that in this exciting, dramatic, exhausting race we call life, we are looked down upon from Heaven by all the great men and women from ages past.
Noah. Abraham and Sarah. Moses. Rahab. David. Peter. James. John. Mary. Amy Carmichael. Jim Elliot. Charles Spurgeon. Mary Slessor.
All the heroes who have run their race and reached the finish line where Jesus is now sitting enthroned are watching us as we run. And they cheer us on....
"Keep going!" they are shouting. "We know you're tired, but look! You're almost there!" "Do NOT give up! Don't stop! Push through! You have no idea what awaits you!"
This is called PERSPECTIVE.
Life brings all kinds of hard situations. Sometimes those situations are just plain uncomfortable. Sometimes they are physically and emotionally painful. And sometimes they are too excruciating for human words to express. Often, our goal is to simply get through it and survive, forgetting that Heaven's faith-filled cheerleaders are calling for us to cast off every weight of doubt or self-comfort and to run, praising God for the grace to run. Life brings me moments where I am at my wits end - exhausted and aching with my heart covered in bruises. When I am faced with a dilemma where my ability isn't sufficient, I can take comfort in knowing that there is always more than enough in the storehouse of Jesus! That truth pushes away the burdens of self-pity, complaining, distraction, and pride, and ushers in the sunlight of God's persevering power. When I look unto Jesus, obediently following faith's lead, my soul begins brimming with the strength of fresh, joyful endurance. In life, yes even the Christian life, it is very easy to grow discouraged when our feet are sore from running, or when they trip over the roots of sin that are so deeply embedded in our culture. It requires spiritual grit and effort to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to focus our eyes on the finish line ahead instead of wandering from the glories of heavenly, eternal things. Oh sister, but remember - Yes, there are seasons of darkness but the morning's new mercies are in sight - so RUN. Yes, there are days of exhaustion but divine strength is in persevering - so RUN. Yes, there are moments of suffering but a crown of rejoicing is awaiting - so RUN. Yes, there are challenges but they can shape one into the very likeness of God - so RUN.
And keep running.
Let us remember in the pain, the loss, the questions, the struggle, and the exhaustion that our light affliction is but for a moment, and that every struggle and drop of sweat that is poured out onto the ground as we push onward towards the face of Christ works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. There will always be hard things. There will always be days when we don't want to put on our running shoes and press toward the mark - when we are too tired, too weary, too fearful to go on. In those moments, may your spiritual ears hear the shouts and cries from your brothers and sisters throughout Heaven encouraging you to keep going. Keep running. In our weakness, we have a Supplier of never-ending strength. In our weariness, we have a Provider of life-giving water to refresh and restore our souls. And in our fear and anxiety, we have One who is the Bringer and the Source of peace, and in His presence is joy so complete and full that it can do nothing but propel us forward towards the glorious face of Jesus. So I challenge you, friends and sisters.....let's run!
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.