(Pardon the letters to references/notes. See this passage in context here)
1 Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses (A) surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance (B) the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, [a] the source and perfecter [b] of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him [c] endured a cross and despised the shame, (C) and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. (D) 4 In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly,
or faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 for the Lord disciplines the one He loves,
and punishes every son whom He receives. (E) (F)
7 Endure it as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline—which all [d] receive [e] —then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (G) 9 Furthermore, we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? (H) 10 For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. (I) 11 No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace (J) and righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (K)
12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, (L) 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, [f] but healed instead. (M)
This passage was the answer to my prayers last night- I read it this morning. If we are to be “untouchable” by our circumstances and trials in this world, we have to remember the truth and return to it consistently. It is by viewing it through God’s eyes that we gain peace and perspective. I struggle with this.
The older I get, the more broken I realize I am, and it is difficult for me to deal with that reality. The skeptic in me looks at this passage and says “Does God really win? What if it’s all just a cruel joke- that those who think they have it all have just deceived themselves into thinking that they have all things through God?” And then I remember- this world is fallen. People want to believe only what they can control- including what they can understand. They are offered so much more, but they trade it in for what is simple, and what they want at the moment.
And I hate that I’m like that more than I would like to admit. I hate that I would rather shirk discipline and go my own crooked way, and in doing so, profane my faith.
This is a valley. I’m working on growing. Lord, bring on the dawn.