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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Endurance. Not something for the faint-hearted. There have been times in my life when I’ve been tempted to give up, to quit before reaching the goal. The most challenging situations are those times when the goal is an unknown entity, an undetermined distance, or a vague point in the future. It’s difficult to pace yourself when you don’t know how much longer the trail is.
I have a disability which sets off a chain reaction of pain and mechanical failure, and pacing makes the difference between reaching my goal or not. And if the “not” is half-way up a mountain, I’d be in serious trouble. If I don’t know how much further away the half-mark is mentally, I can’t ration my movements with the confidence that it will be “enough”, and panic can set in. A slow rhythm helps only so far, but is no compensation for thorough planning. And it’s those times of uncertainty that tempt me to quit. But exactly at such moments is the time to determine my action: I may need a pause in the journey, but my attitude determines whether it’s a comma or a period. If I determine to reach my goal, it’s just a matter of time.
Spiritually we face the same process: when the way is harder or the waiting is longer than we anticipated, it is then we must choose in faith to stay our course, and decide to win. I have a Guide on this journey of Life who will never leave me or forsake me, and He knows the course set before me like the back of His nail-scarred hands. He won’t ever leave me behind, but adjusts His pace to mine. It’s my choice to keep trusting Him and keep moving forward.
Lord give us the courage to stay the course, even when the going gets rough. Let us focus on You, the perfect example, who endured far more and far worse than we'll ever know, to forge the way ahead and allow us unbroken fellowship with you. Amen.
By Stephanie Huesler, Switzerland