Author: Katherine Couvillon
Last week, I took a new fitness class via Zoom. It was a special offering for breast cancer patients and survivors. At the end of the class, the instructor offered some words of encouragement for us. He reminded us of what we’d all been through – the devastating diagnosis, the grief, the pain, the doing of hard things, the chemo, the recovery, the scars. Each one of us had come through all of that, and he wanted to remind us of the strength we had had to endure it. He urged us to build on that, not to forget about or throw away what had been hard-earned through our cancer ordeals, that we should have confidence in our future abilities because of what we’d already survived.
With the words, “Don’t throw away,” my mind immediately jumped to Hebrews 10:35-36, which starts with, “So do not throw away your confidence.” I had memorized those verses through a song as a child but had never really thought about what they meant beyond the reference to perseverance. In their entirety, they read, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (NIV).
This concept of having confidence to face trials wasn’t new to me. Whenever I share my testimony, I share how God’s movement in my life through my divorce and years alone revealed His character to me and demonstrated that I could, in fact, go through things I would never have imagined I could survive – in His strength. And that once you’ve seen God faithfully carry you through something awful, you have confidence later that He will carry you through the next thing. I face cancer with less fear than I might have because I saw Him work so mightily in me through these other trials.
But apparently I didn’t need to learn all that from personal experience. I could have just read the verses right before those in the song I was so familiar with.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised (Heb. 10: 32-36).
Hebrews says: Remember your suffering and how God carried you through. Let that inform the future suffering you encounter. Don’t throw away your confidence; let it embolden you. You can do all things through Christ. Even this. God will carry you through once again. And He will even reward you if you persevere. Win-win.