Advent 2021: A Season Of Healing And Hope – December 17
December 16, 2021
The Small Steps of Faith
(Minister Sandra Lee is a longtime member and volunteer staff at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. She is serves primarily in ministry with seniors and worship development. She also serves as a representative of the Asian Caucus to the Evergreen Region Executive Board. )
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)
It is not always easy to be a Christian. Sometimes the challenges may be to be public about our faith. To be willing to tell others that we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Maybe we are uncomfortable with public stereotypes about what Christians believe and what they do. Maybe our faith doesn’t run in line with those stereotypes around us. We might try to be “undercover” with our beliefs and our participation in church and Christian community.
Maybe it’s easier to just be quiet and not speak up for those who don’t look like us, who are in different economic groups, who don’t speak the same language. Maybe we don’t speak up for our “neighbors,” out of fear that we will fall under the same persecution that they are experiencing.
Was our confidence in our ability to blend in? Or should our confidence be in walking the harder path that might put us in the vision of those who are belittling and persecuting those who don’t fit in with the acceptable molds? Shouldn’t we be choosing the harder path of, “loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and might” and “loving our neighbors as ourselves”?
In the polarized world we find ourselves in, it is getting harder and harder to be willing to stand up. This passage reminds us that God is looking for those who are willing to hold on to their faith in God, their confidence in God, in spite of fears and opposition; God is looking for those who hold on to their faith in God. Yes, it is hard and it will be hard. But God is looking for us and God will save us. Sometimes the challenges are very public. But sometimes the biggest challenges may be inside us, and very private.
In losing my Dad, in losing my beloved cat, Scout this year, there have been many times I wanted to just give up, and just stay in bed and never get up. It wasn’t persecution I feared, it was being alone. And for an introvert, that is really saying something. But I had always felt God, and I was so broken hearted, I couldn’t feel God’s presence. And that was terrifying for me. But at some point, I just had to trust that God was still present, even if I felt nothing or just pain.
God’s “saving” us might not be a dramatic moment. It might be a tiny spark. It might just be the willingness to try and get up, today. But in the same way, I don’t think that God always demands of us the biggest steps of faith. Sometimes, God just wants us to hold on and take the tiniest step, and just keep on.