RUN WITH PATIENCE - by Gwen D Hanssen
RUN WITH PATIENCE – by Gwen D Hanssen
……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. (Hebrews 12:1)
As I read this scripture a few days ago, the word ‘patience’ leapt off of the page at me and has burned in my heart and mind since. In this verse, the writer of Hebrews is giving us a key to running the Christian race, and not only running it, but finishing ‘strong’.
The word ‘patience’ in the Greek means to remain, to persevere, abide, endure, to patiently suffer or tarry behind. Think it not strange that the author of this epistle is giving us the same exact tools to finishing strong in our spiritual race as is used in a race in the natural.
In high school, I ran on the track team and we were instructed to use this exact tactic to win. Our coach perpetually drilled into us the importance of lagging behind just a little bit in a race in order to preserve our energy for the last leg. We were told that when that finish line was in sight, we were to give it our all and sprint with all of our might in an attempt to be the one who burst through that desired end - the ribbon at the coveted finish line!
This is exactly the key that is given in this scripture. Patience, run with patience, endure, and patiently suffer the hardships of this life and the Christian journey, and then when you see that heavenly finish line in sight, give it your all! Now, please don’t misunderstand, I am not suggesting that we lag behind in our Christian journey and halfway give of ourselves, in preservation of ourselves, until we come to the end. No, not at all. As the Lord enlightens our understanding to sacrificially give of ourselves, then we should be obedient to His Word and His voice from the very beginning of our Christian walk. What I am suggesting, and moreover what the author is instructing, is that when the finish line is in view, when you are exhausted from the perils of the journey, when you feel like giving up, when you feel absolutely misunderstood by those who do not comprehend your hunger and desire to give Him your all, when you feel like an absolute outcast, when you feel like you just can’t take another step, don’t give up. Instead, keep pace and stay focused as you remain patient and confident that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) Remain with your face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) as you press with even more fervency towards that finish line.
Clearly, if you are still living and breathing on planet Earth and have the privilege to be a Christian in these last and final days of time, then it is indisputable that we are at the end of our spiritual race. We are seeing end-time Biblical prophecy unfold right before our very eyes, and at this point we have only seen the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in comparison to what is coming. Time is winding up! With all of the rapid changes that are flooding our planet, spiritually, politically, socially, ecologically, economically, medically, and a multiplicity of other ways, this can all absolutely cause a person to become disoriented with what and how to choose and whether or not the initial path chosen was indeed correct.
So, please be encouraged that the pathway of embracing “The Old Rugged Cross” and dying to ‘self', although becoming increasingly unpopular, and labeled as outdated and old-fashioned, is still leading to our appointed end. Now is not the time to change tracks or paths and to begin taking on the fashions, customs, ideas and things of the world. We are not of this world, nor we will ever fit into this world. Even our beloved Savior, Jesus, was not received in this world by the majority. So, what makes us think that if we take on enough of the world, just enough to be accepted, and to fit more decently with cultural norms that this is the answer to the agitation and questions that we may feel flooding our minds in this final hour of time when the enemy is coming in like a flood?
The enemy knows that his time is short, hence his escalated attempts to deceive and cause God’s people to ‘throw in the towel’ at the very end of the journey and look for an easier and more convenient way to climb. The twisting of the truth of God’s Word is alarming as we watch the serpent twist precious Biblical truths back to front. It is harrowing, to say the least, because it looks so right and those who are choosing to not change tracks look so wrong. Again, the word patience floods my mind. The remedy-‘patience’. Run, with patience. Keep remaining, keep persevering, keep abiding, keep enduring, keep patiently suffering, keep tarrying behind. The one who penned the book of Hebrews gave us a very sharp, definite and wise tool to keep in our arsenal of weapons against the onslaught that we are facing in these last days of time; the last leg of the race.
By patiently keeping pace on this road that is rapidly becoming more and more narrow, and remaining focused with our eye on the Prize and spending Eternity with Him, we can then remain confident that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) A wise person makes all decisions with one thing in mind-ETERNITY! As the Word says, “Life is but a vapor, it appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (paraphrased from James 4:14) Let’s remain patient, let’s remain focused, and aware that this body is only a shell that is temporarily housing our souls and spirits that will soon be going to the eternal abode that we have pressed towards. Remain patient and choose wisely. We will soon be home and you will be glad that you did!
Pastor Gwen D Hanssen