In the previous muse from yesterday, consideration was given to the words of the writer of Hebrews who charged this group of distressed saints grappling with persecution to hold their ground, not allowing anything or anyone to influence them to recant on their faith in God. The following words, as recorded in the Common English Bible, convey the mindset the writer thought necessary for these soldiers of God to withstand the satanic oppression that had been brought to bear: “But remember the earlier days, after you saw the light. You stood your ground while you were suffering from an enormous amount of pressure” (Heb. 10:32 CEB). Past victories when etched into one’s memory bank fuel faith when they are drawn upon by the Holy Spirit which facilitates the strategic recounting of the faithfulness of God to whomever finds themselves in a challenging situation. Indeed, when held onto as precious memories, these past victories should have produced a bank of trust on which withdrawals can be made in order to survive the most daunting of times. When this is done, we please God. This same writer also tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6 AV). Pleasing God should be the goal of all believers.
Times of crises should not change that desire to be pleasing in God’s sight. For that matter, periods of crises are the times when believers should shine their brightest, even in a dark, despairing world. Perhaps the greatest witness to the cause of Christ that a saint can produce is that of not buckling underneath seasons of extreme pressure. This is why in this same discourse we are admonished with these powerful words: “Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Heb. 10:35–36 NRSV). If our confidence in God has brought us this far, why abandon it now? Upon being insistently charged in this passage to not abandon our confidence, we are also told what we need in order to not do so. That needed attribute is summed up in one word: endurance. Without endurance or patience, we will never experience the fulfillment of the promises of God. And then, this is only so when we have done the will of God. A major part of doing God’s will is patiently waiting for Him to finish what He’s doing in our lives and in the world around us. As patient as God is and has been with us, notwithstanding all of our imperfections, why would we not be patient with Him in whom there is no failure? Hold on to your confidence in God! Wait for Him! He can be trusted!
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.