I can't help but wonder what the day after Christ's crucifixion must have felt like for those who loved Him; for those who had believed that He was their long awaited Messiah. In their grief and despair did they see any way forward? Did they still think that Jesus was who He said He was? Was there any expectation left in them after they delivered him to the tomb that something miraculous could still happen?
Life is full of in-between days. Times and seasons where we have to navigate living between the problem and the promise. Where we have to constantly choose to refocus and declare, but I see Jesus. The book of Hebrews was written to a people who had to make this choice daily. They were suffering intense persecution for their faith - there were public insults; imprisonment and some had had their property confiscated.
The writer of Hebrews constantly entreats them to hold on to their courage and hope (3:6); to hold firmly to the faith they professed (4:14); to not throw away their confidence (10:35) but to run the race with perseverance (12:1). In Hebrews 12:2 we are told just what will fuel this perseverance:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith...
The idea of fixing one's eyes on Jesus was to turn your eyes from looking at one thing and to fix them instead on something else. These believers had been able to joyfully accept the confiscation of their property because they knew that they had better and lasting possessions. In other words, they could rejoice even in their suffering because they saw beyond it - they had their eyes on the prize of eternity with their Saviour. They had learned to look beyond the natural and make Jesus their focus.
When we take our eyes off the things that seek to distract us - to deter and discourage - and instead place them on Jesus, we realise that He is not only the pioneer of our faith, not only the one who has gone ahead and prepared the way, but He is also our perfector.
A perfector was a completer, a finisher. This is the confidence that we have - that not only has Jesus completed His own work, but that He will also finish what He has begun in us.
Holding on to our confidence is not the absence of questions; it is not a denial of our pain and suffering or of our disappointments. But it is the choice to see Jesus at work in the midst of it. The choice to believe that He is faithful to complete what He has begun in us; faithful to fulfil His promises.
The disciples didn't know the end of the story on that day, but we do. And that changes how we now navigate our own in-between days because we see the resurrected Jesus, the perfector of our faith. So hold on - not with the grim gritting of teeth but with the courage and hope that can only come from seeing Jesus.