“There were others who were tortured,
refusing to be released so that
they might gain an even better resurrection.
Some faced jeers and flogging,
and even chains and imprisonment.
They were put to death by stoning;
they were sawed in two;
they were killed by the sword.
They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,
destitute, persecuted, and mistreated—
the world was not worthy of them.
They wandered in deserts and mountains,
living in caves and in holes in the ground.”
Hebrews 11:35-38 (KJV)
All people are wired to want the “good life”. We desire to have health, wealth, and freedom from sorrow. Sadly, such a self-centered view of life is very immature. As children, we believe that when we are grown up we will do just as we please, but the realities of life soon knock that dream off our horizon. We may hear voices in the wilderness of life calling on us to join their ranks and have abundance. But as we mature, we soon learn to turn a deaf ear to their empty promises of a safe and serene existence.
The earlier part of Hebrews 11 describes how some of the Lord’s people led a charmed existence. We might envy them as we sort through the broken, shattered lives we lead. Why can we not shed off the painful parts of our existence and grasp hold of a life such as we read in the first half of Hebrews 11? Why do we suddenly turn from the good life described in Hebrews 11:1-34 to read the words, “There were others…” beginning in v. 35?
Is it sinful to desire release from sorrow and dark times? Is it rebellion against the Lord to strive for a better more tranquil existence than what we presently have? No, not at all! However, when desiring turns to demanding, we move from submission to rebellion.
Never fear asking for relief from the painful aspects of life. We are free to ask. Yet, we know, our wills must submit to our Father in heaven. If the cup does not pass we must drink it to the last drop as our beloved Good Shepherd did in Gethsemane.
Rise up my dear reader and may you engage the enemy in the power of the Lord. Know that the ultimate victory is ours as we live to fight another day. Paul gives much-needed encouragement in Galatians 6:9 (NIV),
“Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.”