Read: Hebrews 10:32-39
Memory Verse: Ephesians 10:36
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
“Just keep swimming,” is a famous song from a childhood classic: Finding Nemo. It is Dory’s signature song, which she uses as a mantra to calm herself, and give herself the strength to never give up. I remember when this song became a reality for me.
When I was about 13 years old, my cousins and I decided to swim out to the rocks at Sand Island Beach Park. My cousins were Peter (age 16), Kennedy (age 13), and AJ (age 11). I’ve changed their names for the sake of this story. Peter and Kennedy were great swimmers. I on the other hand knew how to float, and my cousin AJ only swam where he could touch the sand (as we later found out). The rocks were about 30 yards out from where we were. It was a fairly easy distance to swim for anyone who knew how to swim.
We were all excited to get out to the rocks. Peter and Kennedy launched out first. I looked at AJ and asked if he was ready. He responded with a confident yes. At that point, I had no reason to doubt him.
We followed after Peter and Kennedy. About 20 yards out, a panicked AJ starts to swim toward me. He had never swam in the deep before. I shouted to him, we’re almost there, but he managed to get close and put his hands on my back. At this point I was panicking, I had never had to carry anyone while swimming. I kicked, and I pulled the water, trying to stay afloat and moving towards the rocks. About 5 yards to go and my head is underwater, but my arms and legs are singing Dory’s mantra, “just keep swimming.” I don’t remember how much of the water I drank while trying to push through.
I had a huge sigh of relief as my hand felt the rock in front of me. I quickly pulled myself up while my cousin jumped towards the rocks. Peter and Kennedy looked at us with disbelief.
Long story short, none of us drowned that day, and Peter helped AJ get to shore safely. I also learned two lessons that day; (1) Learn to swim and (2) although it was only for 10 yards, endurance was important.
According to the internet, endurance is the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. According to the Bible, endurance is continuing Christian commitment in the face of difficulty. It is a continuing under pain or distress without resistance, or without sinking or yielding to the pressure; patience.
The fact is that the Bible warns us about facing trials. It tells us that we will face trials. James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy WHEN ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
When those trials and temptations come, we are to endure. One of the marks of a mature Christian is one who endures. 2 Timothy 2:3 says, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Peter tells us to endure just as our Savior Jesus endured. 1 Peter 2:20-21 — “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
What I love about the writer of Hebrew telling his audience to endure are the examples that he uses to encourage these Christians. Hebrews 11 is famously known as the Heroes of the Faith, and rightfully so. It lists all the ones who came before those who endured. And although some of them did not get to see the fruit of their endurance, they were ultimately labeled as Heroes of the Faith.
However, the writer didn’t stop there, because in Hebrews 12, he lays out the perfect example to follow. He wrote in Hebrews 12:2-3, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
No one can truly know what it’s like to be going through whatever pain you’re going through. We might have similar experiences but we’re still different people. However, there is someone who knows and is rooting for you to endure. Jesus Christ, the Author, and Finisher of our faiths wants you to keep going.
Meditation for the Day: Read Hebrews 12:2-3 and Isaiah 53.
Assignment: Write down on a piece of paper, or in your journal, what trials you are currently facing. Describe them in detail. Then in detail, ask God to help you through these trials. BONUS: Share with a spiritual mentor or someone you trust to pray for you about these.
For Fun: Do an endurance test. How long can you _______. (fill in the blank: run, swim, walk, read, stare contest, etc…).