I recently finished reading through the eleventh chapter of the biblical book of Hebrews. I kept on reading through verse three of chapter twelve. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is known as the Hall of Faith because it honors the great men and women who clung to their faith in God through great persecution and trials, despite the fact that they did not yet know about Jesus as we have the privilege of knowing Him. And then verses one through three of chapter twelve challenge the ones who do know Jesus to be encouraged by those heroes of the faith who have gone before: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” This was not my first time of reading these verses, but they did resonate with me in a fresh way.
These verses confronted me with the fact that a life of ease should not be my ultimate desire. In our present society “easy” is getting easier to obtain; a simple scroll through your social media news feed is evidence of that. What “crises” usually make the status headlines these days? Today I read posts from moms bemoaning the fact that they cannot program Netflix to play continuously all day for their kids; instead, they have to interrupt their sleep or personal time in order to make sure the shows haven’t stopped streaming. Our culture has a low tolerance for discomfort and a quick inclination to complain, withdraw, or roll over and give up trying when life is “hard.” I can honestly say that this tendency is strong in myself, and I want that fact to change.
Lack of sleep makes me irritable; aches and pains are excuses for not doing all that can be done; interrupted routines sends me into a stressed frenzy; extended durations of whining make me impatient and frustrated. These are the usual woes of my day and when listed they seem petty compared to those ordinary people who endured extraordinary hardship for the same faith that I claim to hold: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”
Chapter eleven begins with the definition of faith: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It may seem like a stretch to be comparing my stay-at-home mom’s life with the lives of those described in the great Hall of Faith, but I am doing so because our faith is the same. What good is my faith if I don’t live it out in the middle of my calling as a wife, mom, and individual? I may not be able to control the ins and outs of my day, but I can certainly control my attitude in the midst of them – and my attitude should be driven by my faith in Christ Jesus. The Hebrews challenge that spoke to my heart was not that I should minimizethe hardships in my life but that I should recognize the ability I have been given to do what is right in the midst of them. Trust me, living for Jesus during an ordinary day is anything but easy, but it is worth every bit of the struggle.