Marathon

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4

This week has been interesting. I moved back into work-with mixed results and feelings, a local company laid off 100 employees, I’ve been house-hunting, I received a sales pitch to be part of a growing business, and we finally got my dad’s memorial stone/bench. Sometimes, I find it interesting to think of how many things can happen in 7 days. Sometimes, it only takes 1 second to change your life. I think anyone who has lost someone close to them can relate. You’ll never forget that day, that moment. What you were doing when you heard the words. And, then, there are whole other gaps in time where seemingly nothing happens.

The one thing that kept resounding through this week though. Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s cross-country running. Now, I personally have never been a runner, but I can imagine that there’s a lot of training involved. Training your breathing. Training to pace yourself. Training to have the endurance to complete such a task. I really like the analogy of it being cross-country running since their “courses” have ups and downs, turns and obstacles, definitely more like life. I’ve been thinking about this a lot because it keeps seeming like people keep expecting us to just snap out of this pandemic. Like, next Tuesday, we’re all just going to wake up, and be able to not wear masks, and leave our houses whenever we want, and life is going to just be “normal” again. And, that is just not the case. Just like when you lose someone close to you, you have to find a new way to be. Life is different now.

And, I don’t really feel like this is a bad thing. Humans are some of the most adaptive creatures. We’re really incredible. I think the biggest issue is getting people to realize that this is the case, to accept that things are going to be different now, for a while. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. But, we have hope. We have God. He will see us through this. He’s our coach and He’s given us everything we need to succeed. We just have to change our attitude about the situation and realize that this is just part of our marathon.

I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.

Psalm 119:32

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

1 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

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Mark 24:13

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:3-4

I really like this last one from Romans, because it has definitely changed my perception of experiencing trials and hardships. That with every trial, whether from God or the world, I become better. I am a better me because of it. I now have that experience to draw from, to compare to, to remind myself that I survived that, and I will survive what’s in front of me. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that it is not true what they say, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” This is actually from this verse, “God will not tempt you more than you can bear.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) This is not the same thing. This is spoken in relation to idolatry and some other sins, that you will not be tempted to commit sin beyond what you have the capability to say no to and that he will give you a way out. But when it comes to trials and tribulations, you will absolutely encounter things that are overwhelming and seem like “too much”. If we never encountered things in our life that were too much to bear, why would we need to cast our cares upon Him? Why would we need God at all? If we could do this whole life thing on our own… why does God even care? When life becomes too much to stand, kneel. God does care, and He knows that life is overwhelming. He’s here to be our Coach. We tell Him our problems, and He helps us handle them. Our lives are marathons, not sprints. We are currently on an uphill climb, some steeper than others, but we just have to pace ourselves. Don’t give up, give in, or give out. Keep fighting the good fight, and keep the faith. We’ll get there, for we have already won.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us today, and every day. Thank you for being our coach. For helping us in this great time of need. For running with us, this day and every day. For giving us your Holy Spirit to guide us through this time and all the times to come. That you may guide our steps Father. Light our path. Help us to show the enemy, we are not afraid. We are on the winning team. Thank you for the peace and encouragement in these uncertain times. Thank you for the patience and understanding to give us the will and the perseverance to endure. To make us, long distance, endurance runners. This is just a part of our marathon, and you have been here since the beginning and You will be here through the end. Thank you Father for all that you have done for us, and all that you will do for us. Thank you for being everything we need right now. That we may all have the wisdom and understanding to turn to you and let you show us the way. Thank you for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This week, I’m going to focus on local. Your local, my local. It is my understanding, that each United Way foundation out there has created a special COVID-19 Relief fund for their community. Now, if you don’t know much about United Way, they are a non-profit that works with all (or almost all) your local non-profits to help keep them running. They’ve got their finger on the heartbeat of your community, and they allocate funds to these local non-profits accordingly to help keep their “doors open” and helping whomever their target “audience” is. It’s a great organization to give to, because they’re giving a lot all over the place. If your local food pantry needs some extra support right now, they’re stepping up and helping out. If your local abuse shelter is experiencing an overflow of people right now, they’re doing their part. During this time, where we don’t know who, what, where, how to help, you can donate to your local United Way, and they’ll help get money to where it’s most needed to help your community get through this. I encourage you to find a way to help others right now. We are all in the same storm, but the boats can look staggeringly different right now.

Here’s the big homepage, you can find your local chapter from here: https://www.unitedway.org/

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