My pastor likes to say that the Bible wasn’t written to us, it was written for us. The author of Hebrews writes to remind persecuted believers to think back on the days when they first learned about Christ and how they remained faithful—even though their profession of faith led to terrible suffering. These believers had lost many things because of their faith in Jesus, but they knew they had something better that no one could take away from them. The verses I’ll read today weren’t written to us, they were written to a suffering and persecuted church. But I believe the author of Hebrews has a message for us when circumstances rattle our faith and make us question God.
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about Hebrews 10:36 and 38. In a nutshell, I blogged about a season when I was really struggling to keep the faith. I had opened my Bible memory verse app to look for “Faith Building” verses, and as I scrolled through the list, I thought I saw Hebrews 10:36. I had already memorized that verse, and I knew it said, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Recalling that verse made me mad, and I told God, “I HAVE persevered. I HAVE done your will. So, where’s my promise? I haven’t received it. I can’t believe this is supposed to build my faith.”
Then I looked again and realized the listed verse was Hebrews 10:38 (not 36). I didn’t know that verse by heart, and so I looked it up. It began with the word “but.” When a verse interrupts your negative thoughts with “but…” you know God’s Word is alive.
Tears stung my eyes as I read, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” I’d never willfully do something God would take no pleasure in. No matter how my faith is tested, I can’t stop trusting God. I won’t stop trusting God. I do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed. I choose to persevere no matter what.
Longing to Belong: Discovering the Joy of Acceptance is available for purchase on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Walmart.com, Booksamillion.com and Christianbook.com. It’s also available for download to your Kindle or from the Apple store for your iBooks app. Or visit my website to purchase a copy at shawnamariebryant.com
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This week’s scripture: Hebrews 10:34-39