Run with Adrenaline Joy
Good morning! Today we begin a new week, and with it comes a fresh exploration of Hebrews 12 to continue with our January soul detox series. We hope you get time across today to dive into this passage and get some of God's adrenaline-joy in your hearts and souls! MP Team x
“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. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Hebrews 12:3 (MSG)
8 days into 2018 already? Wow. I don’t know about you but for me around the 8th of January all the motivation I had to start the year well has withered, I’m regretting those resolutions I made; its a Monday morning and the last thing I want to do is honour the 6am alarm I’ve set to whack out the exercise DVD I’ve committed to doing this year and so I end up wrapped tightly in my duvet feeling a bit exhausted and it’s barely even sunrise.
And if I’m being really honest, I just sit blaming it all on the gloomy January weather that seems so futile after Christmas (am I right or am I right?) whilst knowing full well the weather has absolutely zero say in my situation but still, it's perfectly logical… right?
And yet today, the race with Jesus is the same as the one I ran on the 1st of January (although perhaps lacking the motivation for those great intentions or my initial overexcitement for the new year). However, even though I’m tired and my feelings don’t show it the joy set before me is the same and as wonderful as ever before.
When Jesus is described as enduring the cross for the joy set before him what is most striking is the certainty and drive with which he carries it out. For Jesus, the sure joy set before him is us, his bride, the Church. Jesus’ driving factor for enduring was the restoration and reconciliation that all of creation has been yearning for since the fall.
In Hebrews 12, Jesus is named the Author. An author is the one who writes with the ending in mind; who carries the course of the story and breathes life into every character. The one who sustains and writes the darkest of nights not thinking ‘maybe there’s a hope’ or ‘maybe I can write a good ending.’ No, as He writes He knows not a moment too soon the hero, our King Jesus, will return. Us, the reader, cant see the ending just yet but we can know the Author already sees and has perfected it.
Just before in chapter 11, the writer talks about the heroes of faith and the story of Abraham bringing his promised son Isaac to be sacrificed (Genesis 22) and his attitude stuck out to me.
“He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead” (Hebrews 11:17 ESV)
Now for us, the idea of raising from the dead actually seems quite plausible; Jesus was raised from the dead, and during his ministry, both Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter are among those recorded as brought back to life. But for Abraham, that had never happened before; death was the ultimate signifier of the curse from the fall, an irreversible ending. To be brought back to life was absurd, ridiculous faith.
But then in the moment of utter despair, a lamb is provided. God comes in a gentle, intimate and beautiful way and sees Abraham’s vulnerability and makes a way. Amidst Abraham’s confusion and pain, the Author turns over one perfected page of Abraham’s story to another where God rescues and provides.
And as you sit here reading this, wherever you are, God has a perfect plan. No matter how long it takes to climb the mountain or obedience that this season requires; He has made provision for you too. The reality is the Author had already put the lamb there before Abraham had even arrived or obeyed.
Without having any idea of the perfect ending God had in mind or even that God could bring back to life and had already planned that in his redemption of humanity, Abraham had faith to trust in a God of the ridiculous and impossible.
Because here’s the catch: to the Author and Painter of the masterpiece this is anything but ridiculous. In fact, often the perfect outworking of His desire is the dark colour covering the entire canvas to create the backlighting for the bright colours to come.
I don’t know what 2018 holds for you, but if you’re weary, take heart and rest: He is a lavish, impossible even ridiculous God – the Author who has perfected and delights in every page of your story to come.
That shoots adrenaline joy into my soul.
Ashaleigh is a first year student at Durham reading Anthropology. Accompanied with a beautiful drink and a smooth jazz backdrop, she loves nothing more than deep chats about the lavish grace of God restoring hearts and lives to be equipped for His kingdom.