Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
God can scare me. I have admitted it.
Verse one up above I have greatly enjoyed for years. Verse two has been offered to me several times as a consolation of my fears in doing many things. “If Jesus can confront death on the cross, you can do surely do this!”
Quite frankly, that has rarely helped. One thing that has crept into my thoughts many times is “Yeah, but He was and is God!” It almost feels unfair to be compared to Jesus sometimes!
What has been of comfort to me is, instead, the entire preceding chapter.
Chapter 11 has frequently been called “The Faith Hall of Fame” for the list of very human (read “flawed and sinful like me … I mean, like I”) people in history who were persecuted for and/or overcame fear/obstacles by their faith in God.
They are the examples of those who do not “shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39, even though I know this introduction to the next chapter is referring to believers!).
I used to be terrified of heights. This meant that, even though I desperately wanted to for the sheer excitement, I was afraid to jump off of perfectly good cliff into some perfectly cold water (see the picture above). Based on that picture you should be able to tell by my body not being on any firm surface that I have indeed jumped off of at least one cliff.
There are two things that “made me do it.”
I saw other people – some people I would say I trust – jump off first … and not die.
After they jumped, I jumped.
The thing about number one is that I saw the empirical evidence to help convince me it was not necessarily deadly. The thing about number two is that I knew I could never know if what my eyes saw was true unless I experienced it.
I have read about these “Heroes of Faith” who demonstrated their belief and trust in God. Millions, perhaps even billions of people have believed that these people truly demonstrated their faith. God blessed them in some way and they are seen as righteous.
How else do I show people I trust God if I do not follow their example? If all I say is I want to jump off of the cliff, all I want to do is live a life honoring God, where is the proof?
I still sometimes fail, but He is greater than my fear. Hokey? Maybe, but whenever I follow His call, He proves it. When I fail, I prove how much I deserve His grace!
Do you ever get scared to the point you cannot move forward? Do you worry? Do you fail?
At least I am not alone, but remember: He strengthens us with His Holy Spirit and with each other.
Lean on me. Or some other person with the faith you feel you lack.