Running is a tiring but rewarding exercise. I've done my fair share of running in my life with playing basketball from 5 years old up to playing in college. I think there were times that I totally disliked the thought of jogging for pleasure because of the all of the gut-wrenching practices and sprints! But the running in practice is what created the endurance that it took to defeat the opponent in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter.
Most everyone wants to attain endurance. Endurance in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realm. The truth is that in order to have endurance we must face opposition, pain and trial. I have been facing some personal trials in my life over the past few years. I think that when we face the pain of life it is easier to begin to sink under the pressure. It definitely is my first response to withdraw and become consumed with trying to "fix" the situation. God has been revealing to me through His Word that I must stand under the trial so that it builds me into a clearer picture of who God wants me to become.
My battle with crohn's disease has been what I've faced most recently this past year or two. I had no idea I had it but after four procedures, a blood transfusion and a lot of aggravating doctor appointments, they diagnosed me. It has been a discouraging road to hear the lack of information doctors have and the repeated statement, "there is no cure." I have been doing a lot better over the past few months due to lifestyle, health and eating habits. At the same time I am trying to understand the trial through the lens of scripture. I have been reading the book, "When Life is Hard" by James MacDonald. I would encourage you to read it especially if you are facing a tough time in life.
One of my life verses:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
The truth is that God has not abandoned you or me during trials and pain. He is allowing it to refine us into a humble, moldable and devoted person to Christ. Instead of sinking into depression of continually asking the question, "why me?" I pray that the question can change into, "how do I use this for God?" It takes endurance to walk with Christ. God's grace is not fully experienced until we are weak.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
What I need most is the humble power of God. You might relate to this as well. Endurance is only possible through running after the heart of Christ in every part of life. Freedom is found even in the darkest days when the presence of God is the source of strength. The ultimate goal of our life on earth is to bring glory to Christ. I think it is easy to lose sight of this when we are surrounded with a fast-paced, technological culture that glorifies pleasure, vacations and wealth.
I have a long way to go but I have come to a point in my life that I refuse to sink away from trials but run towards the arms of my Savior Jesus. Our heartbeat must be like Paul said, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9b.
How about you? Are you running with or God or sinking away?