It always surprises me when things are harder than they appear. I should probably not be surprised because this is a common occurrence for me. Things are just usually more difficult than I expect them to be.
My husband set about to paint the exterior of the house today. Not the whole house! Most of our house is brick, but there are a few additions that have wood siding or wood shakes. We set out to paint these additions. It was a perfect day for painting. We started with the small attached one car garage which is more of a workroom for us. It’s not very big and has only three sides to paint, one of which has a large garage door taking up most of the side. You wouldn’t think this would be so hard. But first there was all the pre-painting set up, moving the leaves away from the walls, clearing space for paint supplies, pinning the plants back. There was the scraping and patching of the wood siding. Finally we opened the can of new paint and set about our work. That’s when I discovered I had to remember how to paint. I always do the edging and I’m good at it, but every time I pick up a paint brush after a hiatus, I discover I have to figure out again how to hold the brush just right so as to not paint the trim while trying to paint the edges. It’s been one of those days where everything was harder than it looked to be.
Paul said something like this in the book of Hebrews. He was talking about persevering in our faith. He wrote, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12: 1-2)
Paul knew the life of faith is not easy. It certainly was not easy for Paul. He endured great troubles and even persecution for sharing his faith with others. Paul knew there were a couple of things to help him in his race. The first was other people of faith who had gone before him, who were great examples of faithfulness and Paul believed he could sense them around him cheering him on. Secondly he was always looking to Jesus to lead the way. He remembered that Jesus had endured the shame and agony of the cross to achieve his goal of bringing his father’s sheep home. So Paul says to us, ‘don’t you give up.’
We are called to patiently practice our faith… to be children of whom our Father in heaven may be proud and to be co-workers with Christ bringing light into the darkness. It’s harder than it looks, but we don’t run this race alone.
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