“For I said, ‘Steadfast love will be built up forever;
in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.’”
– Psalm 89:2 (ESV)
There are a few things that successful athletes simply must endure. Preseason training is one of them. It’s been over fifty years since I played high school football. However, the images of what we endured during those grueling August practices are still ingrained in my mind. Two and three-a-day practices were the norm in those days. The wet practice uniforms and shoes never dried out. Sore muscles were lathered with Cramergesic ointment, which came in either Red Hot or Atomic Balm. To this day, I’m convinced the cure was worse than the pain. I cringe thinking about downing salt tablets before hitting the practice field where there was no water. For four long, hot weeks, we suffered and accepted what we had to do in order to suit up on that glorious Friday somewhere in the future.
Jesus is all too familiar with the concept of enduring. Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem was met with cheering crowds and waving palm branches. His followers shouted and praised God for all the amazing miracles they had seen. It must have been quite a scene! Jesus, however, was visualizing something completely different as He sat on that donkey. He knew very well what would unfold in the coming days and He was focused on what He must do. He saw the betrayal. He heard the mocking and He felt the lashings. The weight of the cross dug into His shoulder and buckled His knees. The indescribable pain as the nails were driven through His hands and feet. It is finished as He takes His last breath. Oh, what Jesus endured to pay the price for our sins. He suffered and accepted what He had to do. The agony of that dark Friday leads us to the glory of an empty tomb just three days later. He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! That my friends is the Good News. Accept it, be thankful for it, and share it with every opportunity you have.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ, who endured the cross that I might have eternal life. Amen.