Paging through my Bible I always stumble across a fluorescent yellow post-it note. It is one from a drug rep back in my days of working in the medical field. The note is pasted on the top of the page marking Hebrews 11. The note has Hebrews 11:1 written on it...."Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." The verse is also underlined in my Bible. I am certain that when I read this verse years ago I was convinced it deserved to not be forgotten! I believe I marked it then so that I would continue to find it now.
When I first began to pick up my Bible after Ashley died, I remember finding the post-it note. I began to read the verses on the page. It never hurts to read past a verse, and I was thankful I did. Hebrews 11 walks you through a legacy of faith driven people. Although I had read it before, it was like I was reading it for the first time. I was strengthened as I read about the people who went before me. Hebrews 11 pushes one to read Hebrews 12. As I read on I stopped at verse 2. It is also underlined. This verse has become one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Not because it makes me feel good, but because it is the nourishment I require for every new day.
Hebrews 12:2 says "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross..." The verses continue, but the underline stopped at the cross for me. I have every intention of writing this verse on a wall in my house. I need to see it every day. So often, I forget. A friend of mine, my pastor, reminded me that every time I take my eyes off of Christ, I will be lost. I will get burdened by the worries of my life. If I am not focused on Christ, I will focus on something else. Everything else in life will disappoint me. Nothing in life, but Christ alone, will satisfy me completely. These words make sense, and give such peace. Why is it then, that I continue to wander from the truth? The old hymn says it all "prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love..." It is my nature to wander from God. I am a sinner.
Getting back to fixing my eyes on Jesus. He is the author of my faith. He "wrote it." He also perfected it...that means that he completed it without mistake' something I can not do. Christ suffered through his life, which gave way to the cross itself, and his blood that covered it. The cross is not only an object of death, but is also a tangible description of our daily sufferings. Jesus carried his "cross" throughout his life. Jesus was able to endure the cross, because He knew the joy that was set before him. Being God, himself, he left heaven to come to earth. He had been there before, he had seen and taken part in the Glory of the Father.
I am instructed to "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:3). As I am called to carry my cross each day, I need to focus on Christ. He was without sin, yet bore my sin as he endured the cross. His blood was shed, which covered the cross, he defeated death, and entered the joy that was before him. Since the cross that he carried was mine, and through it, my sins have been forgiven, then the Joy that belongs to him is also mine! I no longer have to pay for my sin, but I still have to pick up my cross (no matter the size) and follow his example. The end result is pure Joy!
The one word that sticks out to me is Endure. Christ endured the cross. The definition of endure is to undergo a hardship without giving in, to suffer, to regard with acceptance or tolerance, to continue in the same state, to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding. (Merriam Webster dictionary). Endurance through suffering is what I am called to do. Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." I am thankful that Jesus said "daily." He knew that I couldn't just do it once, I am prone to wander. I will fail.
As I carry my cross each day, I am promised joy. I believe this is where my faith comes into play. I am taken back once again to Hebrews 11:1, "being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." Jesus had seen the glory of the Father. I have been called to place my faith in Jesus, who is Joy, and who loved me enough to endure the cross that was my sin, so that His joy could be mine. He requires nothing less than for me to admit that I can not do it on my own, to believe that He did it for me, and then pick up the cross that belongs to me, and follow His lead. It must be done every day.
This journey is long and the road is hard, but it will be worth it all when I see Jesus and my faith will be sight.