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.
– Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
Endurance. In life and coaching, we know the importance of endurance. As a track coach, I learned to appreciate the difficulty of each event, but I was especially drawn to the distance athlete. It takes a special person to train and compete in the longer races. Endurance athletes require a great deal of discipline and they must be able to stay focused on their goals. I have always been fascinated with the athletes who compete in the Ironman Triathlons. To be able to swim, bike and run long distances in the same event is truly a testimony to the strength of the human body and the will of the mind. Years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at a local sprint triathlon. While the distances are shorter than the Ironman Triathlon, they still require tremendous endurance. It was my privilege to meet Jason during that event. Jason had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and is paralyzed below his chest. I was asked to help Jason transition from the swim portion of the race to his bike. That experience encouraged me and humbled me at the same time. Jason’s inner strength and endurance were an inspiration to me as well as those who watched him compete.
Following Jesus can be tough at times. It can be difficult to stay strong in our faith with all the obstacles and distractions that surround us. It’s important to remember that we don’t have to go through the tough times alone. Jesus will run the race with us if we let Him. While we don’t know the distance of our race, focusing on Him will give us the strength to get to the finish line. We must work daily to build our spiritual endurance. We can do that by spending time in His Word and talking to Him on our knees.
Thank You Heavenly Father for always being with me, in the tough times and in the good times. Help me today to run my race with strength and endurance. Amen.