Greek women presented shields to their sons going to battle and said, "Either bring this back, or be brought back upon it." Sometimes they would give them their fathers' shields and say, "Your father always preserved this shield; preserve it, or perish." Either one was a proof that a soldier had faithfully persevered until the end. You may die, but you will never run.So when the writer of Hebrews says, “Don’t abandon your confidence,” he is saying, “Don’t abandon your faith. It is your shield.” This is not the only time we see this language in the New Testament. “Above all, take the shield of faith.” (Ephesians 6:16)
The advice of James in the first century translates very well into a 21st century offers the same challenges.
"As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. As an example of patience in the face of suffering, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Or think of Job’s perseverance, and what the Lord finally brought about for him. There are people teaching you falsely about the character of God as it relates to trials, temptations, and suffering. Don’t be misled and deceived. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who shines His light on you. He does not change like shifting shadows. God gave us life through His word of truth, that we might be the beginning of a new kind of creature – his most important and prized possessions.
Be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains? You too should be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return, when you will finally be delivered from all of these hardships. Stand firm, and don’t give up hope; His coming – and your deliverance and reward - is near." (compiled from James 1 and 5)
“At least 21 people have been killed and more than 70 injured in Egypt in a suspected suicide bombing outside a church in Alexandria as worshippers left a new year service….”
“Hundreds of nomadic Fulani herdsmen launched coordinated attacks on three Christian villages—Dogo Nahawa, Ratsat and Zot, just south of Jos—about 3 a.m. Sunday. Reports on the death toll differed wildly, with some placing it at about 200 and others reporting 528 killed and thousands injured. The killers planted nets and animal traps outside the huts of the villagers, mainly peasant farmers, fired weapons in the air, then attacked with machetes…”
” Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance
Sometimes, the source of our trials are obvious.If I need a new car because mine has broken down after 500,000 miles and its just run down or Michigan happens to win a bowl game, that’s just life as “creation groans”. If I don’t study and I fail a class, that’s my fault. Sometimes, the source can be tough to gauge. David says he went through prison and “fire and water” because God tested him.