The Bible gives us the straight scoop on life. Throughout Holy Scripture we get the highs and lows, the sufferings and the glories, the grace and the judgment. The Christian life is not some nice neat upward trajectory that we enjoy until we reach heaven. Rather, it is more like a zig-zag, herky-jerky, up and down experience of times of strength and encouragement, and seasons of weakness and despondency.
In this life we will have trouble. Since we follow a Lord who himself was ridiculed, suffered, and killed, we cannot expect a peachy existence filled with lovely unicorns and puppies that don’t poop. It is one thing to face hardship; it is quite another thing to face it day after day, month after month, maybe even year after year without any reprieve. What then? Few people sign up for constant adversity.
The Hebrew Christians had started their Christian lives well, coming at it with gusto and strength, and a willingness to experience solidarity with their Lord Jesus. But, as time wore on, they became tired and defeated. So, the author of the book of Hebrews lets them know that the two indispensable elements of the Christian life are faith and perseverance. Without trust and endurance the Christian life cannot be sustained. Don’t throw in the towel because there will eventually be a great reward.
Sometimes when facing trouble Christians shrink back and withdraw from others, not letting fellow brothers and sisters into what is really going on. The ministry that used to happen fades away. But being vulnerable and allowing others to help; focusing on service to those who need it; and, letting go of the stuff we think is so important; these are all ways that keep us on a steadfast path of love and good deeds without losing our confidence in Christ.
Ever-present God, you are Lord of both the bad days and the good. Build in me the spiritual stamina I need to keep going so that faith in Christ might be expressed through love at all times and in every way through the power of the Spirit. Amen.