“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

In view of the times ahead, it is easy to be discouraged; to shrink back and want to delay the persecution that the Bible tells us is inevitable.  One only has to watch the world news to know that the stage is set, and God will not require this world to sustain the weight of sin for much longer. 

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

When we look unto Jesus, he fills us with his joy and renews our strength.    I cannot hide it, the coming of our Lord and the beginning of our life in the fullness of His Glory, excites me beyond containment.

Upon discussing this with a dearly beloved member of my family, I was warned, in my excitement of his imminent return, not to be too “gung-ho”. I was, upon hearing this, challenged to examine myself.

Simon did indeed say that he would never deny the Lord, and yet he did…thrice!  Am I, in my eagerness, overstating my faith? 

I have seriously considered the persecution to come, and while I don’t look forward to what we must endure in the physical realm, I do look forward to the eternity which awaits those who do endure.  While we view the persecution from an earthly perspective, we will always be discouraged, however, our perspective should never be earthly, rather:

“..while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal;but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2Eph 4:18

It is our focus on the eternal which will allow us to endure the affliction. Hebrews 12:2 states that “for the joy that was set before Him (Jesus) endured the cross.”  I believe that when we focus on the joy that is before us, that is, eternity with Jesus, we will be able to endure anything this world offers up. 

I recently read in “Light Force” by Brother Andrew, that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  When the fear of death is abolished within you, then there is nothing that can prevent you from experiencing joy under any circumstances.

After careful examination, perhaps my enthusiasm does stem somewhat from immaturity.  I am not supporting war wounds from this battle which has been raging since shortly after this earth began, nor am I personally in the midst of earthly persecution.  However, I have faced tragedy and fought battles both spiritual, physical and relational, but in all of these, I have experienced the victory of Christ Jesus.  It is because of His faithfullness in these things, that I do not have a defeated attitude, and am able to be prepared for what is ahead. 

This “race” is coming to an end.  Yes, it is a marathon, a test of endurance, but it is the time to look ahead. I don’t believe there are any laps left, it is the final sprint.

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise:  ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.  Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.'” Hebrews 10:35-38 (NKJ) 

Let us not draw back, nor succumb to our wounds when the end is in sight.

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  1Tim 6:12 (NKJ)

Hold fast to the Word, and to His joy within you. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37