Written by Felicia McKnight
“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG
In life we will all be handed circumstances, challenges, and setbacks. They tend to last in our life longer then we anticipate causing us to become frustrated, impatient, discouraged, hopeless, and even depressed. Sometimes it’s difficult to remain encouraged as you wait on your change to come. There are times individuals want to seclude themselves and give up on waiting and give up on God. I came across a quote that said “every miracle in the bible first started as a problem” (author unknown). Paul’s teachings today encourage us to keep pressing like the trailblazers before us. He is using those in the Hebrews 11 hall of fame as our case study and reminder. Our struggles today are no different than those in biblical days.
• By faith Noah had to do something he never done before by building and arch. Noah had to wait for God’s deliverance while going through a storm (literally) that he has never experienced. The storm lasted forty days. Noah never got tired of waiting on God. Noah did not know what rain was. He didn’t quit and jump off the boat when forty days seemed like eternity, but he chose to walk by faith and not by sight. His reward, “he became heir if the righteousness that comes by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)
• Abraham received a promise from God that He would be the father of many nations. In him and his wife’s old age they finally gave birth to a son, Isaac. God challenged Abraham to kill His promise. Abraham trusted God anyway and was about to sacrifice his son when God showed up and provided a ram in the bush. God was testing Abraham. Abraham could have chosen not to be obedient. He could have questioned God and not sacrificed Isaac at all, but He remained obedient to God’s directives. Abraham by faith did become the father of many nations and through his obedience received the promises of God.
• Joseph was an humble man. God gave him a dream that he would one day be over a nation. The order of events that took place in Joseph’s life made his dreams seem far from reality. He was accused of rape, thrown in prison, and forgotten about. Eventually God delivered Joseph and His dreams came to pass. Through it all Joseph remained faithful in the season of life he was in. God’s grace covered Him every step of the way and Joseph’s God given dream eventually came to pass.
All of these individuals trusted and obeyed God even when things seemed opposite of what God promised. A few of them may have messed up along the way, but they never quit until they saw God’s promises manifest. You may be going through a series of back to back trials and experiencing things in life you’ve never had to go through, but like Noah….trust God until you see your breakthrough. You may have had to leave some familiar people, places, and things behind to get to what God promised, but like Abraham….trust God until the promise is fulfilled. Things may be taking much longer than your personal timeline, but like Abraham and Joseph trust God for His perfect timing for promises to come to pass. You may have a season of “if it’s not one thing, it’s another”, but like Joseph remain humble and faithful through each trial until God turns the dreams He gave you into a reality.
Whatever you are going through never quit. In addition to the individuals highlighted in Hebrews 11, Hebrews 12 reminds us of our ultimate role model, Jesus Christ. Jesus went through it all yet He kept His eyes on the cross. He came to this earth to be a living example of how we should walk with God. He experienced death of friends, persecution, and betrayal. We do see a time in the garden where He wanted to give up yet He kept pressing by trusting God for His will to be accomplished. “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:42-43 NKJV)
This goes to show that we may get weak and weary, but when we call on God and place matters in His hand that our Heavenly Father will give us the strength and grace we need to keep pressing. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NLT). When you find yourself ready to quit remember the individuals in Hebrews 11 and study the journey Jesus endured to receive the crown He was promised.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 ESV)
Be blessed. Be encouraged. Never quit!
Heavenly Father, we come before you laying all of our cares and anxieties at the altar knowing that you have an answer and a promise for them all. In exchange we pray that you cover our minds and hearts with peace. As we wait for our circumstances to change give us the strength to keep our eyes focused on You our sovereign and all powerful God. Lord, we believe by faith that answers to our prayers await us. We trust you that at the appointed time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Thank you for being a faithful God. In Jesus Name. Amen