The writer of Hebrews wants his readers to trust God to have their best interest foremost in mind regardless of their life circumstances. God is a perfect Father who is in control and will work all things out for good. He does not say that “all things” are good. But that in the recipe of life they will work together to make us better than we would have been without them. Like the paralytic, healed through faith, trust God. He will work it out. Then he adds in Hebrews 12:14, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Earlier in Hebrews we were instructed to “strive to enter His rest.” Although our eternal rest awaits us in the Kingdom, there is the certainty of that destiny based on God’s promises, that gives us rest today. The Christian life consists of both “resting” and “wrestling.” They seem contradictory but when we understand that the “wrestling” involves standing firm in the “rest” given to us through our faith in Christ, it makes perfect sense. The idea of putting forth effort to live at peace in the world is in both testaments. In the Old Testament we find it in Psalm 34:14 which says, “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” In Romans 14:19 Paul says, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” And as you well know, the third fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22 is “peace.” Let me explain a little. It does take effort to live in peace with others. We need to wrestle with emotions, unkind thinking and actual wrongs we’ve experienced. But when our focus is on the certainty of our eternal destiny with God in Heaven, it becomes easier to let go of offenses in this life. Trusting God in His omniscient, eternal perspective to know what’s best is the true key to peace in all our dealings in life.

Back in Hebrews 12:10 we read that God allows difficulties, trials and hardships of all kinds into the lives of His children so that they might “share His holiness.” The striving for “righteousness” is not an exhortation to become better or to try harder. It’s an exhortation not to lose our confidence and trust in God. He is always working out things for our best even when things seem to say something different. But He seems to work the most through our hardships. We’ve also read in chapter 11 that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith that holds on, doesn’t slip back and stands firm in the face of the most difficult of trials is the faith that seems to please God the most. As the author of Hebrews says several times, “look to Jesus,” “consider Jesus” and “think hard about Jesus.” His sufferings brought great glory and that’s His plan for us. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”