Sometimes, even when everything is going really well and I know that life is actually really great, life gets exhausting. As if the weight of trying to do everything right and accomplish everything I need to get done begins to wear on me little by little until one day I just find myself weak and exhausted. I think this is part of the natural order of this mortal existence, that we have to keep going forward and pushing through, even when we feel like we’re ready for that ever-distant promise of rest in the kingdom of God.
Paul addresses some of these plights of human life and beautifully describes the feeling in Hebrews 12, after explaining in chapter 11 the faith of the prophets that have preceded us as they went through difficult trials.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
There are many phrases that stand out to me within this passage; Paul encourages us all to “lay aside every weight” and to lay aside “the sin which doth so easily beset us,” or take us off the course. He tells us to “run with patience the race,” or in other words keep pushing forward. I love that he acknowledges, a man like Paul even, that we can be easily taken off course of what we want by those sins that we have a weakness for; that we have weights upon us that begin to tire us out. Yet amid all of this, we are still encouraged to keep going, to be patient. And like the second verse acknowledges, we do not have to do this alone. We have a perfect being to place our absolute faith and confidence in, as He is the “author and finisher of our faith,” an expression that I understand to mean that He is not only the cause of faith, but that He will always come through and show us that our faith is well-placed if it is in Him. Paul also acknowledges the suffering Christ endured in order to be able to have the joy of being this strength to us.
These verses show me that if we turn to the Lord, we can accomplish difficult tasks; we can make it through seemingly impossible trials; we can keep going when we feel we have nothing left to give; we can repent and try again when we continue to make the same mistakes again and again. Because of our Savior Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, we truly can run with patience our unique races that are set before each of us. I know this to be true from my own experiences with leaning on my faith in Christ to get me through, and seeing the miracles of strength and unbelievable blessings that come from His hand.
Let us all follow the council of Paul and look unto Christ so we can run with patience the race that is set before us.