Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 15, 2018
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Revelation 13:10 (NRSV)
The book of Revelation often paints a bleak picture of the condition of God’s people. Like Israel throughout the Old Testament, they find themselves oppressed, held captive, and besieged by many trials. And yet, time and time again, in the midst of these trials, rather than in spite of them, the message of Scripture calls for a steady faithfulness that trusts in the goodness and strength of the Lord.
Endurance is a simple thing when one lacks any real trial or challenge. If you go on a slow, simple walk around your neighborhood and avoid all the hills, you likely will never break a sweat and as a result may convince yourself you are physically fit and filled with endurance. Yet you haven’t actually deepened your endurance or expanded your physical capacity, you’ve simply removed all external challenges and obstacles!
The absence of challenge leads to a shallow and untested life. Trials and obstacles are God’s means of deepening faith in his saints. Though in the moment we may struggle to see any redemptive value in them, they are given to us as opportunities to expand our trust and faith in the Lord.
It is possible to live your entire life at the surface. Wading in the shallow end is comfortable, yet keeps you from the joy and wonder of the ocean depths. And while the crashing waves may feel intimidating and impossible to conquer, the only way to reach the calm, clear waters of the deep is to pass through the waves with a heart filled with unshakable hope in a God who himself faced incredible pain, yet overcame even death itself and now rules and reigns in glory.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
You likely find yourself today faced with a very real challenge or obstacle in your life. Whatever it may be, no matter how dark or hopeless it may seem, as a follower of Jesus there is always hope. Even in the face of death, resurrection always has the last word.
Father, in times of trial remind us that you are always with us, inviting us deeper in our faith, even as we walk through life’s challenges. Amen.
Where have you given up and abandoned your faith journey? How can you return to the Lord and respond to his call for endurance?
Trials and obstacles are God’s means of deepening faith in his saints #WisdomHunters #endurance
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