I ABSOLUTELY MUST start out with my favorite verse. I cannot write and not share this: –We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
I’ve often compared life to a cross-country race. While running that 4000 meter race (for girls) many thoughts traveled through my head, and endurance was a key to my success as a runner. Endurance is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as, “the ability to withstand hardship or diversity.” No matter what the pain I suffered, I had to withstand the ache and push on. It is what I was trained to do; it is imprinted in my mind. Out of all the cheering, my coaches’ yells stood out the most, “Keep going, you are doing great, we need you, don’t give up! You can pass a few more!”
To me, our Father is like that coach. He is always cheering us on and encouraging us to keep going and move up in our standing. What fun is it running in the same place all your life? He is constantly challenging us to move forward and strive to pass each obstacle in front of us.
One of my favorite obstacles of a race was running uphill, yeah believe it or not, it’s true! God spoke to me using this verse that running uphill is like running up a hard spot in our lives, it is a challenge we must endure. Just like running, we have to dig deeper with our feet to make it up that hill, it is no simple task. We have to rely on Jesus and dig into the word to Spiritually climb that hill. Another thing, our coach had us practice running up hills, so when the time came for the race, we would fly up the hill without falling back. The Lord gives us small hills to practice running up so when the test comes along, we can fly right up that challenge with no problem!
It also takes endurance to run a cross-country race. The more I endured, the stronger my character became. I whined less about my pain, sucked it up, and RAN. Jesus would also show me new things and give me new thoughts when I was running. It was like time for me and Him to talk. It made me rejoice in my pain and the work I was putting into the race. (Hence why I sound like a crazy person because I love to run!) The stronger my character became, the more hope I had. It took me a little while to realize that the more I relied on the Lord the help me run through my pain, the more He blessed me and loved on me.
I still miss cross-country today because it helped me grow in my faith so much through all the challenges I faced and how much I could use it as a metaphor for endurance, and show how Jesus strengthened me. To this day, there are still things the Lord shows me apply to this verse and running; I apologize that this is all I have written, but I think I could write about this verse forever! Maybe I’ll save more for a later date! 🙂