"...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." Hebrews 12:1b-2
There are several people in my life who are in a season of waiting. Whether it is a waiting on God's provision in order to move to a new season of ministry, or the arrival of a long anticipated major life event, or the arrival of a new member of a family, in each case the waiting is difficult, but what can make it more bearable is to be reminded of what they are waiting for. I've told this story before, but when I was in the Navy and we made it to less than 30 days remaining on a deployment, we would begin to remind each other, "I can do 30 days standing on my head." Again the difficult waiting was made bearable by anticipating the homecoming.
This is exactly what the author of Hebrews was reminding us about life. He encourages us to remain faithful, to "run with endurance" by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Jesus himself endured the cross and all that went with that by thinking about what it was he was accomplishing.
While this can be a great reminder for the day to day, the greater reminder I think is for all of life. We wait on Christ's return, with the promise that he will set all things right, that pain and sickness will fall away, and the power and presence of sin broken forever. There are far more promises about the eternal relief from pain and hurt than there are about any promised relief in this life. But it is precisely the eternal relief that can make the waiting in this life bearable.
So how do we wait well? Knowing that our God is in control and has a plan, knowing that our God knows our situation and cares, knowing that our God hears and answers prayer are all important, but ultimately it is our eternal reward, the "joy set before" us that enables us to wait well.