Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. NIV
This is the third verse that opens chapter 12 of the book of Hebrews. It was this verse that I found a couple of days ago when I was searching for references to “lose heart,” a synonym for worry.
This verse reminds us to remember the suffering endured by Christ as we face the obstacles and worries that are sure to be in our path. He has walked the path that we are walking.
Christ became human not only to save us, but also, I believe to better relate to us. He has seen the world through human eyes, and has experienced the pain that humans are capable of inflicting on one another. What a comfort that is. Christ understands our hurts and our worries and is there to comfort us. We must only remember to consistently take our worries to Him in prayer.
The chapter goes on to discuss the encouragement of discipline. At first glance, that seems to be an oxymoron. But, as I thought more about the chapter, I can see that it is completely on point.
This summer, I’m growing roses. I’ve never grown them before, and, in the part of the country where I grew up, they weren’t terribly common. I ordered them on line. Nine little miniature rosebushes. They came in nine tall boxes, and, as I planted them in my garden this past Spring, I remember not having much hope for them. They seemed spindly and awkward and not at all likely to produce the lush foliage and gorgeous flowers that I’d seen on the Internet.
I followed the instructions, and planted them in full sun. For the first month or so, nothing much happened. I watered them faithfully, and then, a few blooms began to appear. Not all nine plants had flowers, I think I got about four little roses. I took pictures of them and sent them to my family, and I figured, that was it. Nine plants, four blooms … that was honestly a better ratio than I had expected. I let the blooms fade and turn brown, and then I had just nine little green plants, but, they were at least growing new leaves. I kept watering.
Then, someone told me that I had to cut the blooms off. My mom sent me a book on growing roses, and it said the same thing.
So, I cut off all the dead blooms. Several days later, to my surprise, a few more blooms showed up. As those faded, I cut them off, just as the book instructed. And, an amazing thing began to happen. The more I hacked off fading foliage, the more new blooms I got!
In the face of opposition — or, perhaps in response to discipline — those determined little plants have become more and more beautiful. They don’t yet look like the picture on the Internet, but, I consistently have 15 or 20 beautiful rose blossoms to admire out my window.
That’s the kind of Christian I want to be. I will not wilt or worry or lose heart in the face of opposition. Instead, I will see it as a blessing, as discipline that I can learn from, and I will flourish in it.
That’s what I’ll think about today.