Read: Hebrews 12:1-13
U.S. Navy Seals are considered by many to be the finest fighting force on the planet. One thing that makes the Seals so effective is the training regimen.
Seal training is legendary for its extreme difficulty. The second phase of training is so tough only 33 percent of candidates who make it to the second phase graduate to the next. The fourth week of training is known as “Hell Week.” Candidates function on less than four hours of sleep a day, swim miles in cold surf, carry large logs, boat up and down the beach, and run over 200 miles. More candidates quit during Hell Week than any other point in the training. The Navy knows this, but it considers these trials crucial to developing the endurance and discipline needed to survive in combat.
We all have, or will find ourselves in, difficult times. Some of us will experience the spiritual equivalent of “Hell Week” through the loss of loved ones, health, relationships or finances. Hebrews 12 describes two types of discipline that will prepare us for our own race. The first type is self discipline. The second is external discipline or training.
Sometimes God allows us to go through tough times “for our good in order that we may share in his holiness’’ (Hebrews 12:10). It may be difficult to imagine a loving God allowing hardship into our lives until we remember Jesus. God allowed difficult times in Jesus’ life to prepare Him for the cross. When we endure hardship in our own lives, God can use it to prepare us for greater things.
The secret to surviving is to fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” He has been through all the training and reminds us not to lose heart.