I am no athlete. I don’t train for a marathon or even lift weights on a regular basis but I am in a race. So are you.
I have always watched the Iron man Decathlon in Hawaii with so much respect and admiration. The way these athletes can push their bodies to such extremes and the months if not years of prior work it took to get them there. It really is miraculous in it’s own way. It’s a testimony to the human form and how intricately God created it. However, what gets me is the way they persevere. They push through pain, dehydration and extreme fatigue to finish the race. Sure there is a winner but honestly the iron man is more about being there, attempting it and persevering to the finish line.
Hebrews 12 says 1 “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. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This life is not easy. Many of you may be enduring hardships like I am. It’s easy to want to sit down and cry and say “no more God please”. It’s easy to turn your back and get off the race track and walk away. However, I don’t know about you, I just can’t. I’m compelled to keep going, to persevere, to keep my eye on that prize. That prize is Jesus and an eternity of worshipping Him.
Let us not forget as we run this race and things like hurdles and sprained ankles get in our way, they too are there for a reason. Let’s look again at the book of Hebrews and chapter 12. “7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Remember that not all hardship is discipline either. It is a refining and purifying process making us more like Christ and for the building of our faith. I Peter 1:6-8 “6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”
I realize that at this very moment it may seem difficult to worship and praise God during your circumstances. During times like this He understands the sacrifice of praise you are making. Hebrews 13: 15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.” You are choosing to praise Him through your trial and hardship. Don’t loose site of the prize. Your trials are temporary my friend. Much like labor pains they will not last forever and the end result will be well worth it. Do not give up my friend. We can run this race together. Set your hope fully on God and his grace and the salvation through Jesus Christ. Run the race and focus on eternity. See you at the finish line!