12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1:12 (NIV)
Albert Einstein once said, “It’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” There is something about persistence and the willingness to persevere to the end that brings about great joy and satisfaction.
I remember the first time my track coach called me over and shared that he wanted me to try hurdles. I had no clue what I was doing. But one statement that has stuck with me ever since that spring afternoon is, “If you ever hit a hurdle, don’t stop; keep running!”
I was curious and wanted to understand why, so I asked him. He replied that if you hit a hurdle, it will be your natural tendency to stop and look back; and when you do that, you will lose precious time in the race. That simple act could determine whether or not you win or lose the race.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
When I read these words of James and his encouragement to the early church and us today, I think of that conversation with my track coach.
There isn’t a person in the world who hasn’t experienced a difficulty, a setback, a hurdle. We have all encountered obstacles in our lives. And I bet you can think of one right now; you may even be experiencing it as you read this.
James was looking to and thinking of Jesus and His example when talking about persistence. He remembered how Jesus continued on in the garden of Gethsemane, persevered at the cross and rose from the grave.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Maya Angelou
Blessed is the man or woman who perseveres under trials, who is persistent and doesn’t grow weary and does not stop, but keeps running forward toward Christ to receive a crown of life!
Reflect: Athlete, what is your response when you encounter an obstacle, a setback, or a hurdle? Is your first response to trust in the Lord and continue on, or is it to stop and allow the hurdle to keep you from running the race?