by Zane Hodges, excerpted from The Journey of Faith: Sermons on Hebrews
My Christian friend, we are saved freely by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But the road to glory and dominion over the creation is a tough road. We often encounter on that road, trouble, hardship, frustration, and suffering. But, our leader has traveled the road ahead of us. He has been victorious over everything. He has now sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. From there, He is able not only to help us, but also to inspire us.
That is why there comes ringing to our ears the challenge of Heb 12:1c, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Doing what? Heb 12:2,
Looking unto Jesus, author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
If that does not inspire you, nothing will.
Maybe some of you read the story of Phan Khan Trang in your newspapers not long ago. He is an eighteen-year-old Vietnamese teenager who decided he wanted to escape Communist dominated Vietnam. His goal was to come to California, where he has a sister living in Rosemead. Last April, he got aboard a ship with three relatives and nine neighbors, and they set out across the South China Sea. After three days, they ran out of food and water. On April 18th the ship was struck by a wave that Phan Khan Trang described as being as high as a house. The ship was shattered. Everyone had drowned except Phan Khan Trang, who somehow managed to get a hold of a plastic water container. For two days, he clung to that plastic water jug in the South China Sea until he was sighted by a Norwegian freighter, which picked him up and took him to Manila. Hopefully, he is with his sister today in Rosemead.
Now, that is a story about endurance. The ship shattered. His companions drowned. He was clinging to the only object that could keep him afloat.
The Bible is perfectly honest with us, my friends. The Bible does not promise us that our journey to the shores of the kingdom of God will always be across calm and passive seas. Often, violent storms sweep down upon us. The waves of trouble lash at our lives. We must cling to the only object that can keep us afloat. We must cling to our great Captain and Leader, whose help and whose inspiration can see us through to victory. For as surely as He was victorious, we can be victorious too. For you see, the world of the future belongs to those who have loyalty to Jesus Christ, and who endure in suffering because the Bible says, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim 2:12).