“You have need of patience,” my shepherding elder said from across his living room. His wife nodded and looked at me for a response. I settled back into their cozy sofa as things finally began to click into place. Perhaps God had not failed me. Perhaps I had not failed him. Perhaps the simple truth I needed for this season was best summarized in Hebrews 10:35-36:
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised.”
Jesus never promised his followers a life without trouble. Knowing the world to be a system of corruption, he even prayed, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). In other words, we are no better than our master. His earthly life proved exceedingly hard. And the longer we live, the more we experience the same.
Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 3:12 that all who want a live a godly life will be persecuted. So living for Christ doesn’t mean life will get easier. It may get harder. People may actually attack us for loving the God of the Bible and walking in his ways. In his sermon on the mount, Jesus blesses this path (Matthew 5:10).
Indeed this is what the author of Hebrews had in mind when encouraging believers not to throw away their confidence in God but to endure their trails instead patiently. Somehow there’s a connection between our confidence in God’s promises and the way we walk through our troubles.
The recipients of Hebrews had endured persecution with a holy expectation of reward; they would do it again by God’s grace—one moment, one day, one circumstance at a time.
What confidence will bolster us up through the storms of life? Surely not a confidence in ourselves. As we clasp our hands together in prayer, we cling to the promises of the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We remember the one who holds all things together—even our faith.
Left to myself, I’d abandon belief and devote myself to the fleeting pleasures of sin. But here’s the good news: those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation are never left to themselves. The Lord is with us wherever we go. And the Lord empowers our patient endurance.
He not only kept our Lord through his trials. Our Lord defeated death when he rose from the dead. We will follow after him. Nothing life throws at us can snatch us from the love of our Heavenly Father. The kingdom of God will not be shaken.
Because we have confidence in the Lord over everything before us, let us heed the words of James and count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds. We know these trials test our faith. We trust this testing will produce steadfastness. And we are confident that as we learn to patiently endure by going through every trial with God on our side, we will mature; we will rejoice; we will make it home.