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,--Hebrews 12:1

Friday, February 15, 2013

Persevere and Be Blessed

The Run

Finally! Had a great run today. After two days of struggling through shorter runs, I finally got back in the groove and had a really good 6 mile run today.

Wednesday I had to be at work early. I forgot and woke at my normal time, so I didn't have time to get in my planned 6 miles. That was probably a good thing, because the 3 miles I did run that morning were an absolute struggle! Thursday's morning run wasn't much better. I planned to run with my Tuesday/Thursday group, but woke up late. This time it was because I'd forgotten to switch my phone from silent. So I didn't hear it when it tried to sound at 4:00 AM. When I did wake at 4:30, I didn't have time to prepare and get to our meeting place on time. Therefore, I sent a text saying I wouldn't be there and got a later start than normal. I still had time to get in 4 miles, but again, every step was a struggle.

But today was completely different! As I switched on my Garmin, I felt the first raindrops of the light shower that would continue throughout the 6 miles. Still, I felt really good as I climbed the quarter mile long hill leaving my driveway. When the watch beeped after the first mile, I looked down and saw I'd completed it in 9:43. Nothing fabulous, but so much better than any mile I'd run in the last two days. And it got even better!

I knocked the next mile out in 9:11, then the third mile in 9 flat. The fourth, fifth and sixth miles went by in 8:51, 8:53, and 8:47, respectively. When all was said and done, my average pace was 9:04 for the entire distance. After the last two days, I was absolutely thrilled with that.

We're barely over two weeks away from the Little Rock Half Marathon, a race I'm hoping to complete in less than 2 hours. My goal is to average a 9 minute mile, 10 seconds faster than required to finish in exactly 2 hours. That gives me a couple of minutes cushion to beat 2 hours. I was starting to worry earlier when the runs weren't going well, but now I'm feeling a little more confident.

The Message

Once again, running simulates life in so many ways. So often, when we hit a rough patch in life, we get worried, maybe even scared, that we're going to fail. We fear that we won't measure up. We won't be good enough. We won't be successful. God takes such good care of us, blessing us with so much, so often, but it only takes a short time in a difficult situation to shake our faith and forget that God is going to always be there, looking after us and taking care of us.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -- Isaiah 41:10

God tells us never to fear, because He will always walk with us. His promise to strengthen us and hold us up will never be broken! If we trust in Him, place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we have absolutely nothing, no reason, to fear anything. Nothing the world can throw us is stronger than our God. That means through Him we can endure anything, any situation, life throws at us.

Just as a couple of bad runs don't make me a failure as a runner, a rough patch in life doesn't doom me to suffering and misery for the rest of my life. In fact, we are also promised that will not be the case, as song as we place our faith and trust in Christ.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11

Our God promises His plans for us are good! Hope and a future are promised to us, not hopelessness and helplessness. With such a promise, how can we lose hope? How can we give up?

But every day, all around us, people do give up. They lose hope. All it takes is a rough patch, a time of struggle, sometimes even just a little discomfort, that causes them to throw up their hands and throw in the towel. Really though, if we'll just persevere, usually for a very little while, we'll come out of the dark times and see the blessings God has in store for us.
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." -- James 1:12

Persevere. That's what we have to do when life throws us a curve, when times get tough, when we feel like we're just getting beat down by one blow after another. The bad time usually only lasts a little while. Then, when the clouds roll away, the bright and beautiful sunlight breaks through to reveal the good that God has in store for us. Persevere. Just persevere.

God doesn't want you miserable. He wants you to receive that crown of life. He wants you to love Him and enjoy all the peace and happiness that comes with that love. So when you have a tough run, don't give up. Know that on the other side are the blessings God has for you.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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