“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25
Just before I sat down to write this blog, I changed my 16-year-old son’s diaper.
Yes, you read that correctly: He’s 16 and he still wears a diaper.
Most days, I can handle the whole process without a moment’s hesitation. It is my “normal” and I’ve grown used to it. However...some days, I cry. Today happened to be one of those days: I cried…and I prayed for deliverance.
Then, I wiped the tears, washed my hands, and sat down in front of my computer to prepare to write. Staring back at me was the reminder I needed: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who has promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
Hold unswervingly...to hope...
There are days - hard days- when hope can seem very far away.
I am now recalling the words I sent to a friend this weekend; both of us facing our own individual trials - overwhelming and out of our control. Here’s an excerpt:
I often hate it when people say that God gave me special needs kids because he must have seen something special in me to know that I would be able to handle it. I’ve never felt that is true. Instead, I feel it is more likely that God saw how He would change me through this burden, and how He would strip away who I thought I was, replacing it with nothing but a necessary reliance on Him. Not a willing reliance on Him - definitely a necessary reliance. I am not the Peter who had the faith to first step out of the boat; instead, I am the Peter who had no other choice but to cry out as I was sinking in the waves. Necessary reliance.
I say all that to say: I know the internal dichotomy that can result from those specific kinds of repeated reliance. We know with surety that “the flesh is weak”. But I also want you to know that when people see you walk in your necessary reliance - even those who do not “believe” in God - they know in their souls that there is more here than what meets the eye…There’s something bigger than what we can really comprehend - there must be. So, for whatever it’s worth: keep that up - the necessary reliance - even when it’s white-knuckled and gritting-your-teeth through every step at a time. Whatever that next step means. The details will work themselves out as we wrestle through our necessary reliance, no matter what decisions we have to make. And it’s a hell of a price to pay, because you and I both know that earthly “glory” rarely heals the wounds of the victor - somehow the scars are more enduring than the cheers of the crowd, because the scars remain long after the crowds have waned.
One step at a time. Even with the doubts and feelings of defeat. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
A necessary reliance.
We hold on, not because we are strong, but because there is hope – not in what we can see – but in the faithfulness of the One who has promised.
In this hope, we encourage one another to continue in the good works before us, even when it doesn’t feel good. Because of His faithful promises, we are spurred onwards towards living through the hardness of life with great love. As the Day draws closer – “when our faith shall be sight” – we sink our hearts deep into the bedrock of our salvation: “He who has promised is faithful.”
I need these reminders – more often than I say out loud. It’s why I need people who can remind me that the holding on will one day be worth it all. I need people who are willing to step into the unstable fissures in my faith, when the sadness is too heavy and the darkness clouds my sight; I need them to remind me that my hope is not in what I see in my day-to-day. It's not in endless diaper changes, medicine adjustments, confusing loneliness, or my exhausted mind & body. My hope is Jesus and His salvation - nothing more. I need to be surrounded by those who know God’s great promises and can remind me that He is faithful, not forgetful. I need to hear it often, and especially when I feel like I am drowning.
This is why we gather together, and why Paul tells us to continue to gather together. We all need to be reminded of these things, because life is hard at times, and the world still needs to see the Savior. It is why we need to know those who can and will stand with us and around us in our time of need. Being together, encouraging one another to hold on to our hope as we wait for its fulfillment, is the beautiful prelude to Eternity - when all of God’s faithful promises are finally fulfilled – when our hope finally becomes our reality.