why real hope in the face of suffering makes all the difference.
SO DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR CONFIDENCE; IT WILL BE RICHLY REWARDED.
Last week, we looked together at a myriad of truths about Jesus from the book of Hebrews that help us anchor our hope and confidence fully in him. But it’s one thing to say that Jesus is in control and merciful and faithful when everything is going well—the real test is what we cling to when life is hard. And the good news is that when we take a step back and look at the context of our verse this month, we have a real-life example of fellow Christians fighting to believe the promises of God in the midst of suffering.
Hebrews 10:35 says: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hold on a minute. “Don’t throw away your confidence . . . ” Why the warning? What in the world could tempt us to throw away our confidence in the amazing truths we know about Christ and our new identity as his people?
In short, suffering. Suffering—especially suffering for our faith—can threaten to destroy our confidence in God and all that he has done for us in Christ. The Christians in our passage had faced intense suffering. They were “publicly exposed to insult and persecution” (Hebrews 10:33). They were thrown in prison. They had their possessions stolen. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. What might it really be like to be publicly insulted, have your stuff stolen, and see your friends thrown into prison? What would you be tempted to do or say? What would that do to your faith? It’s a sobering question that can be uncomfortable to think about.
While I haven’t faced anything close to what these believers were facing, I have sadly felt the pull in my own life to choose my own comfort or the affirmation of others over speaking the truth of the gospel. Even though I know that Scripture tells us to expect suffering and rejection because of our faith in Jesus, it still can catch me off guard. I don’t want my knee-jerk reaction in those moments to be to blend in with the crowd or to do what feels most comfortable, even at the expense of my witness. I want to hold fast to the only place true confidence can be found: Jesus.
If we’re not fixing our eyes on Jesus, suffering can blind us to God’s grace and cause us to forget what we know is true. It can tempt us to lose sight of the hope of what’s to come, to ignore God’s sustaining presence with us right now, and to overwhelm us with anxieties about the future. And it’s precisely in those moments that we need this reminder to hold on to our confidence in Jesus.
When was the last time you were tempted to not trust God in the midst of suffering? Are you there today? Maybe it was a miscarriage. Maybe it was a betrayal. Maybe it’s the constant criticism that you face because of your “outdated” beliefs. In big ways and small ways, we all face trials that tempt us to “give up” on our confidence in Jesus and all that he’s promised us.
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)
Our Hope Is Real
I want to remind you of something today: your best life is not now. (And after the past couple of years, can I get an amen?!) This life—which is so often marked by pain and sadness and longing—is not all there is to the story. Can you see the mercy and kindness of God in this verse, reminding us of our confident hope, especially in the midst of suffering?
Hebrews 10:34 tells us that God’s people joyfully accepted the confiscation of their property. What?! That is not a natural response to having your stuff stolen. How were they able to do that? Because their confidence—their faith—was not in their circumstances or their stuff. It was in Jesus. They knew deep in their bones that being in a restored relationship with God now, not to mention the hope of what is to come, is far better than even the best this world can offer. Their future hope enabled them to be faithful in the here and now.
What God has promised us is not like an infomercial. He doesn’t overpromise and underdeliver. He doesn’t string us along with no real plan to tie up all the loose strings (hey there, Lost). We can have confidence in who God is and trust that what he’s promised, he will fulfill. The pages of Scripture are filled with examples of this to bolster our confidence. And if you’re a believer in Christ, your own redemption story is filled with examples of this as well.
Fix Your Eyes
So then, how do we hold fast to our confidence? A good start is to remember all the ways God has brought you through suffering, and rehearse his character and faithfulness to yourself in the face of every trial. Jesus—not our abilities or our circumstances or our comfort—is our confidence. And just as he has always been faithful, so he will continue to be.
As you fight for confidence in Jesus, know that you are not alone. There is a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before you, and I, for one, am praying these verses over you today as we seek to hold fast to our confidence in Christ, knowing that it will be richly rewarded:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
- Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV
HAS SUFFERING EVER TEMPTED YOU TO LOSE CONFIDENCE IN JESUS?
HOW HAVE YOU SEEN GOD DELIVER ON HIS PROMISES IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING?
HOW DOES THE FUTURE HOPE OF GOD SETTING ALL THINGS RIGHT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE TODAY?
Thanks for reading,
Meet LINDSAY TULLY
Lindsay is the newest member of the Dwell team, working as an editor and guest writer. She and her husband, Matt, live in Chicagoland with their three kids.
We'd love to see you around.