“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5: 1-5
I’ve always been fascinated by marathon runners. While I am not one myself these days, it amazes me to see friends and family members put in the miles and the work to accomplish such an incredible task. There’s something so powerful about seeing a person persevere through something so strenuous, that it brings tears to my eyes.
The same is true when I think of what it means to run the race of life with God. Our days, weeks, months, and years are filled with moments of glory as well as moments of agony, just like in a race. At first, we might be excited and energetic towards the journey God has us on, but ten miles in, we might hit a wall, start thinking “This is too hard; I’m not ready for this,” and want to quit.
Yet instead of leaving us to figure it out on our own, Jesus comes to run alongside us, encouraging us, and reminding us what Paul says in Romans: that the suffering we are experiencing in the present moment is creating perseverance. That perseverance builds our character, making us more like Christ, and leading us towards hope. What a word, and what a promise that hope does not disappoint us, because when we hope we are filled with God’s love through the Holy Spirit. If that doesn’t make you want to get up and run a lap around the block out of joy, I don’t know what will!
Whatever hard spot you find yourself in today, be encouraged that God is working it out for our good. Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33 that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus takes every hard thing in our life and uses it to grow us to become more like him. So keep running the race, knowing Christ is running alongside you, cheering you on the entire way.