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."
Hebrew 12:1,2 (ESV)
What do the IRONMAN Triathlon, the Tour de France, and the Iditarod Trail Invitational have in common? They are endurance races that pit the best athletes in the world against the harshest elements, the toughest competition and the longest courses.
I’m also a big fan of the Amazing Race in which teams of two race around the world completing tasks that slow them down, get them lost and make good reality TV. While this race doesn’t necessarily take physical expertise, it certainly takes mental and emotional stamina.
All of these races are different, but they have another thing in common too – every one of these races has a finish line. Each person participating knows that the exhaustion, pain and suffering will have an end.
According to Scripture, the Christian is also running an endurance race, but the main difference is that we don’t know where the finish line is.
Many times I live as if I’m expecting the finish line to be just around the corner or over the next hill. In reality, my race continues until the day I meet Jesus face to face.
So why am I so surprised when I finish one particular stretch of my race, and I’m suddenly thrust into another steep climb, or a tricky traverse, or desolate desert to cross.
Only God knows where my finish line is. He has marked out the course of my race, and He is watching me closely, cheering me on and tending to my needs as I struggle, triumph, fall, get back up, stop, get lost, skin my knee, collapse, get dehydrated or get my second wind.
Athlete, let’s stay on track, keep our eyes on Jesus and run with exuberance. And every step is purposeful, bringing us closer to the finish line and perfection of our faith.
Friend, the end will be glorious! The victory is in the enduring!
A prayer to consider: Lord, give me strength for the most grueling endurance race of my life to the finish line – heaven!