Monday, April 8th
Last: to manage to continue (as in a course of action); endure
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NRSV)
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. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
“I didn’t sign up for this.”
I imagine all of us have had a few of these experiences at some point in our lives. We volunteer to help with a project and find that the work is more than we bargained for. We finally find the career of our dreams but soon learn that there will be cutbacks, with more responsibilities and less pay. We love working with a team of people, but eventually our favorites leave for other positions. We are disappointed and dismayed when the job no longer matches the job description.
Our previous devotion invited us to launch into God’s call on our lives, to take that first step toward a new vocation or way of living. Sometimes- even when we have been called- we have those same unsettling experiences after we launch. The work isn’t as easy or as appealing as we had imagined. There are disappointments, changes in direction, surprising losses, or unexpected challenges. We begin to wonder if this calling was from God after all. Did we misread the signs? Did we misinterpret the nudges on our heart?
Or has God called us “for such a time as this”? (Esther 4:14)
Maybe we answered the call because we anticipated the joy we would have in using our gifts for God’s service. But maybe God called us because God needed someone to go the extra mile, to keep persevering when others would not! What if these very challenges are the reasons God knew we were the ones to call? What if God called us because God knew we were best equipped to handle the troubles along the way- if only because God knew we would rely on and trust God for the help we need?
Paul’s words to the Hebrews encourage us to run with perseverance the race set before us. We can look to Jesus as our ultimate example, who for our sake endured terrible suffering all the way to his death. God’s call on our lives often requires us to persevere; to last when others don’t and we don’t want to. Certainly there are times when we are wise to surrender and stop. But before we do, could we first prayerfully ask ourselves, “Did God call me for this very challenge? Am I here for such a time as this?”
All definitions are excerpted from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/
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