For the title above I was actually tempted to use the well-known and commonly used Afrikaans expression “vasbyt”. Literally translated it means “bite tight”, meaning to hold on and not let go. This expression may have originated from seeing at how some dog breeds can lock their jaws on an item and, no matter how hard you kick, scream or beat, they simply will not let go. “Vasbyt” developed into a standard expression when we encourage one another to hang in there, don’t let go or to be patient. This is what I want to do here.
Many pictures come to mind when I think about not letting go, such as an athlete in a marathon race, a person enduring long-term illness, or the encouragement to remain hopeful during this COVID-19 time when life is no longer what it used to be and there just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight!
The Bible has much to say about “vasbyt”, both in examples and also in direct instructions. Just think about Moses’ life of 3 X 40 years (palace, desert and leading Israel during their wanderings), Joseph sold in slavery and ending up in prison in Egypt, David fleeing Saul for many years, and Paul enduring much persecution in simply wanting to share the message of the Gospel. But also, and very relevant for us during this month as we prepare for Easter, think about how Jesus endured much rejection, pain, suffering and ultimately death to redeem us for God.
The Bible is clear that the Christian life will include a lot of “vasbyt”. We are encouraged to hold on, be patient, wait and not lose faith. In this former believers (people of faith) and Jesus set the example, as we see in Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In other words: Hang in there! Don’t let the current lockdown, debates, loneliness, economic hardships and many other challenges take your focus away from the Lord.
May the Lord Jesus help us all