Thursday, February 19, 2009

Suffering is Not a Sprint (No kidding!)

When I was in high school, I used to be on the track team and my events were primarily the sprint events. I did not run long distance races. Too long, too hard, and I could not see the finish line when I started. I didn't like that.

The thing with the sprint events is that they are quick and you can always see the finish line. You have to expend alot of energy to get out of the blocks, but being able to see where the destination is makes a big difference. When we cross the finish line, we can look back and see where we started, and even the wind may be knocked out of us, the recovery time is shorter and the reward for our accomplishment, quicker.

I guess I am a better sprinter when it comes to life's trials, as well. I can get out there, rally the troups or myself, and with a burst of energy and the finish line in view, I can do it! I am definitely significantly more challenged when it comes to the long distance race; here is where we have to pace ourselves, aware of our energy levels at any given moment and despite the fact that we can't see the finish line, persevere believing that we will cross the line.

Dear reader, perhaps you are aware of what I speak of. We can "survive" the intense but short crises of life, but it is the long, stretched out sufferings that can take their toll on us. If we could only see the finish line. I do not necessarily mean the finish line of heaven, although that may be the case, but even what appears to be the finish line just for this event. How will this particular "event" end? What is God's redemptive finale and what will our story look like?

I find myself breathless and weary -- "hitting the wall" as they say. No sign of the finish line, and in need of energy and replenishment, and yet determined to finish the race, strong because of He who strengthens me.

Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to run the race that marked out for us with perseverance! God marks out the race, where the finish line is and how long it will take us to get there; we really don't need to see the end point to run the race. He knows each step of the way, what we need for replenishment, what the end of this "event" looks like.

Let us, like the Apostle Paul be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). It does take alot of faith along the way. Hebrews 2:2 goes on to say, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith." Persevere and run the race, not growing weary. Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith, will show us the way to the finish line and we will rejoice with Him there!

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