“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:1-2
I sat at the track eager to watch the women’s 4×400-meter qualifying heats at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the U.S. team was favored to win the gold medal. This preliminary heat was believed to only be a formality — but at the second handoff, something went terribly wrong: Both U.S. runners stopped running!
Then, all of a sudden, they began to run again. The Americans finished the heat well behind their competition and, from all appearances, failed to qualify for the final. In the face of major disappointment, the women endured to finish their race.
In life and sports, things do not always go as expected, and we are left disappointed. Like those women, can we endure difficult, disappointing circumstances and finish our race?
Hebrews 12:2 gives us God’s instruction on how to do so. He tells us to:
1) Look beyond our present situation to the reward we will receive for finishing. Jesus endured the cross so that we might spend eternity with Him.
2) Remember we are not alone. Our family, friends and God Himself are cheering us on to the finish line.
3) Focus on Jesus, looking to Him for the strength we need to keep going despite our circumstances.
As it turned out, the U.S. women were fouled in the exchange zone. Because they finished the race, they were granted a time trial, qualified for the final, and indeed won the gold! What might happen if we all endure through adversity?
— Karen Zando, Orlando Pride chaplain
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