Last time we took a look at hope and how sometimes life sends disappointments our way but that when we hope in the Lord we will never be disappointed. This month I thought we could take a look at what I think is the opposite of hope~ anxiety. You see if our hope is in the Lord and we remember to stay focused on that then nothing this world throws at us should shake us, right? That being said, I would like to confess that I am one of the world’s biggest worriers. I worry about school starting and sending my kids out into that lion’s den, I worry about teaching them healthy eating habits, about their teeth and health. I worry about parent’s health, our finances, my nieces and nephews, whether I have been a good example of Christ in my words and actions. Just in case that isn’t enough, I worry about my kid’s friends, my neighbor’s, hey I even worry about my neighbor’s cat, and as many of you know, I worry every time I drive across a bridge, so much so that I have actually practiced an escape drill with my kids, right here in central Illinois, miles away from any major bodies of water. Of course after the Minnesota collapse that fear doesn’t seem quite so far fetched.
Now some of you are probably guessing that I am going to refer to the passage in Matthew that warns us that worrying will not add one day to our lives, and indeed we know from Psalm 139 that God has already numbered our days. Or maybe you are thinking I will refer to the part of that passage that says not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough worries of its own. And of course that is true as well. The verses that I want to look at though are found in Hebrews 10:35-36. The passage says, “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 was promised.”
The reason I chose this passage is because if we are believers in Christ then we do have a confidence that comes from knowing we are in His hands. I love the strength of that word here. It makes me think back to when I first accepted Christ into my heart. The excitement and fervor of realizing what I had been seeking so desperately for was now clear to me. The hope that washed away all the worries, heartaches and struggles I had faced up to that point was mine to share with the world. Makes me think of the lyrics to a praise chorus, “Lord I feel like dancing, its foolishness I know…” Believing came easy for me then.
Oh but the next word is endurance. There is a different strength in that word. The image that pops in my mind is my grandpa sitting in his rocking chair sharing stories about his days as a coal miner. The things he endured were amazing and sometimes life threatening but it shaped him into who he became. You didn’t know my grandpa, but how about Corey ten Boom or Mother Theresa, now those ladies knew what it meant to endure. Several songs pop into my mind with this one. First an old praise chorus based on the Psalm, “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord…” I once heard a worship leader scoff at this song and ask, “How can praise be a sacrifice?” However, sometimes when life is tough it is a sacrifice to praise God rather than question Him. A more recent song that points to endurance is from Casting Crowns, I Will Praise You In This Storm. The lyrics remind us to endure, “I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands…where does my help come from, my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth…” In the walk of a believer we have confidence in who we are and where we are headed but the road is pebbled with endurance.
No worries* though because next up is, promised. The verse finishes out by reminding us, “when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” So we can have confidence that we are in God’s hand, we can know that hard times will come but God is our deliverer, but we can hope for heaven, it is what he promised! Now I don’t know about you but that gets me excited! “Lord I feel like dancing, it’s foolishness I know…”