How shall we overcome adversity? How shall we endure? How shall we reign in life? How shall we say with the Apostle Paul, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord shall give me at that day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?
The answer to these questions can be found in part in the life of Moses. “For he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). It is in “seeing Him” that we derive strength to endure.
The answer can be found best in the Lord Jesus Himself. “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 12:2). What does this mean?
Havergal writes in the second stanza of her hymn, “Thou Art Coming, O My Savior” :
Thou art coming, Thou art coming,
We shall meet Thee on Thy way;
We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee
We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee
All our hearts could never say:
What an anthem that will be,
Ringing out our love to Thee,
Pouring out our rapture sweet
At Thine own all glorious feet.
This hymn is speaking of a moment of meeting, a point in time and eternity when faith will be sight. This is the “joy that was set before” the Lord Jesus. The Psalmist wrote of this moment in Psalm 16:11: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” It is a joy set before us, too. Havergal is living in the anticipated joy of meeting.
Gerhardt writes in his hymn, “Midst the Darkness”:
O the blessed joy of meeting
All the desert past!
O the wondrous words of greeting
He shall speak at last!
He and I together ent’ring
Those bright courts above;
He and I together sharing
All the Father’s love.
How did the Lord Jesus overcome the pain and sorrow of the cross? He looked beyond the cross. He looked beyond the suffering, solitude, and the shame, to that most glorious moment when He would again see the face of His Father. The Lord anticipated with joy this reunion and the blessing of being in the unhindered presence of perfect Love, this love He had shared with the Father from before the foundation of the world.
And so it is with us. We will meet Christ. May God reveal to us something of what this meeting will be like. It will be a moment of stepping into the fullness of the warm light of His presence, into that freedom from sin in all of its forms, into the radiance of His perfect, total love. It will be a moment of greeting, and of joy that we cannot even begin to grasp in our hearts and minds. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
In closing let us consider the father of the prodigal son. “But when he was a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The son had been separated from his father for a long time and had wasted all that had been entrusted to him. The Lord Jesus tells us that the father RAN to meet him and he fell on his neck and kissed him. There is no restraint of joy on the father’s part. There is no reserve in the demonstration of his love and affection for one he held dear. We so often think of what our joy will be to meet the Lord that we do not consider with how much joy the Father and the Son will welcome us! A part of the “joy that was set before Him” was the joy of having us with Him forever. This is why He died.
Let us trust Him to fill us with His joy. May we day by day look unto Jesus, and endure as seeing Him who is invisible. In this way we shall be enabled to overcome.