From the Word
Click and read >Hebrews 12:1-12
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. -Hebrews 12:1
Bright and early Saturday morning, I ran a 5K to help raise money for the YMCA. It was a special moment for me. The weather was absolutely perfect. The greenbelt was beautiful. And I was surprised by how easily I was able to run the three miles.
I have been training for this race for the last 10 weeks, following a plan called 'From Your Couch to a 5K" Ten weeks ago, I was only running for 60 second spurts followed by 90 seconds of walking for a total of about 15 minutes. Saturday, I ran 30 minutes straight without a need to stop and rest. My training paid off.
Friday night before the race, I went to pick up my number, timing chip and course map. While I was there I was so impressed by the people I considered the real runners, those who planned to run the 1/2 marathon and marathon races.
Marathon runners train for something called "Hitting the Wall." It is common to run out of glycogen stores in your muscles and liver somewhere around the 20 mile mark. They have to train to persevere through that crash of energy, when the race feels unbearable. I saw some runners this weekend that must have hit that point in their race when I passed them. One lady was sobbing, others looked in physical pain.
It made me think of the spiritual implications of running the marathon race of this life. Walking faithfully with Christ, remaining faithful to him through persecution, heartache, and overwhelming trials of this fallen world, is the ultimate endurance run. Thankfully, we do not have to rely on our own strength. When our "glycogen" stores run out, we rely on His strength and energy to keep us going, and we put our faith into practice. When burdens feel unbearable and our strength is gone, we must remind ourselves that "this is what I have been training for," this test of my faith will make me stronger. Press on! Don't quit! Run with perseverance that race marked out for you.
At the end of my race on Saturday, I hit a point where I wondered how far I had already run and how much farther I had to go. Then all of a sudden, on my left through the trees, and over the river, I caught glimpses of the finish line. There were hundreds of people celebrating with loud music, cheering on the runners as they came in. My speed picked up, my hope increased, and I ran faster than I knew I could just to get to that party! As I ran across the finish line I was huffing and puffing but I felt so much joy and victory. I did it! I was "home free."
I was surprised by how much it helped to know the end was near, to get those little glimpses of the finish line through the trees, and to know what was waiting for me. That's what the hope of Heaven is intended to do for us. As that day draws ever nearer, as we look up in anticipation, we can run faster toward the prize waiting for us. We can remember that our faith is strong enough to carry us home because we've been training for this. Don't lose hope! Just like the crowd was cheering for me during the race, I'm cheering for you, "Keep going! You are doing awesome! You're almost there!"
Are there areas of your life where you can see your faith being tested? Have you "hit the wall" in the race of life? Pray for God to strengthen you to push on, to persevere, and to remember that you are almost there.
Thank you for training my faith, making it grow and increase. Thank you for equipping me with the strength I need to endure this marathon of life. Please keep reminding me of the prize that awaits. My very great reward on the other side of the finish line is You! During this time of trial and struggle, please give me your grace and help to persevere.
In Jesus' Name I pray,
More of God's Word:
1. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4
2. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything -James 1:4
3. Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. -James 5:7
4. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:14
When We All Get to Heaven
Eliza E. Hewitt, 1898
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.
When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!
While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav’ling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.
Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.
Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.
Pressing on with you!