I’ve given serious thought to many of the articles and prophecies I’ve read over the month since Billy Graham’s passing. Some believe that his transition triggered a “baton-passing” of the evangelistic mantle from one individual to potentially an entire generation. Topics of speculation ran the gamut from one article suggested there would be a “coliseum full of cheering people” as Dr. Graham entered, to another that pointed out his “mansion” would likely be a comfortable, humble abode similar to his earthly mountain cabin.
I must admit, the concept of a “coliseum of people” cheering at Dr. Graham’s arrival seems very much like a still-in-this-world perception to me.
In the book of Hebrews, Paul refers to “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us”…would that be the same as a “coliseum of people” cheering? I don’t know — but I doubt it. The purpose as explained in Hebrews is to encourage us, not those who have passed through the veil, for a specific purpose: “to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” that we might “run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” (Heb. 12:1-2, NASB) In other words, Go Team Jesus, you’re still in the race.
The Message translates Heb. 12:1-3, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through…”
As I pondered that wording, three different ideas stuck in my mind. First, the concept of putting up with anything.
I have to say, that is really a great prayer…but is it one that any of us offer up regularly? How frequent is it the cry of our heart to ask, Lord, help me put up with anything…so that I might share Your news of reconciliation and forgiveness with those You point out, with someone in my regular sphere of influence?
I personally believe that some version of that sentiment was a heartfelt part of Jesus’ many intimate conversations with His Father. Continue reading “The Glory of Putting Up With Anything”