But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 10:32-11:1 ESV
We all faced times in our lives when we experienced “doubts with doubts” about decisions we are making or have made, especially those decisions that are based on our faith. In these verses from Hebrews, the author and God are encouraging us to remember what we experienced when we first were enlightened (accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior) and the criticism and sufferings we may have endured as a result of that decision.
In many ways these verses of encouragement are exactly what we need to hear as we are challenged by the storms of uncertainty facing our Church family today. As we have prayed about making critical decisions, many of us have experienced “doubts with doubts” with concerns about long standing family denominational traditions, attachments to places of worship where we have experienced very deep and intimate times with our Lord and fellow believers. And maybe some concerns of what our family and friends will think about us. As we wrestle with the consequences of this decision, these verses encourage us to persevere as Christians have done for centuries as they held tightly to their faith through times of persecution and suffering and to continue to proclaim the Gospel as we minister to others in His Name with compassion, joy, mercy and faith.
Two strong words from these verses that stand out to me are:
- Persevere—quiet, patient endurance
- Faith—Assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen
I encourage everyone to focus on these words as you pray through your “bouts with doubts.”