Both of my children have birthdays this season and every year about this time I go back and recollect the memories of the labor pains it took to birth them. I find myself reminiscing about how big I was as I approached the impending due dates. How I felt, what I looked like, how I wasn’t sleeping…all of it. Even up to where I was and what I was doing when I realized that the contractions I had been feeling were actually going to stick and force my body to manipulate itself in such a way that a baby would come into our presence.
But those hours of labor.
Each child was different, but the common thread with both births were the contractions. Like the waves of the ocean that just keep coming, so did these pains. And once you’re in the midst of this beautiful process, there is no turning back.
And so you push through.
What an illustration of real life…sometimes, hard seasons will come and we will just have to keep going.
*Seasons we have placed ourselves in. One choice can oftentimes lead us down a road of difficulty.
*Seasons we have been placed into because of the actions of someone else.
*Seasons of sickness or tragedy where there is no one to blame at all.
“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…”
Perseverance: noun per·se·ver·ance : the act or power of continuing to do something in spite of difficulties
Have you ever felt like a runner who takes off to run the most important race of your life and suddenly realize that your shoes are untied? Maybe people are elbowing you, jockeying for a better position on the track, throwing their sweat in your direction, causing you to slow down in order not to get knocked over. Your efforts to build your spiritual muscles result in cramps that scream for your immediate attention. You grow thirsty and need to move right or left in order to grab hold of the water offered to quench your thirst. You feel run down and sluggish in your spiritual growth and realize that some of your life choices leading up to the race are now weighing you down, beckoning for your attention. Your feet start to scream out that they are tired as blisters make their way to the surface. Anybody?
Are you trying to push through in your own power? Did you bring your old shoes to this race? Your own way of doing things? Maybe a former coach taught you some bad training habits in the past and you need to lay those down for a better way. Ask yourself if you are carrying around some bad choices. They’ll act like the added weight we strap around our ankles when we are trying to burn calories.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us that there is a race marked out for us. The trail is set and everything we need to finish well, we will find along the path. It’s up to us to throw off anything that could weigh us down and keep us from running our best race possible.
As we move forward in our christian walk, there will be days, and even seasons, that will leave us wondering how we’ll ever be able to stay the course.
We have to persevere.
Sometimes, it’s not just about pushing through, it’s about pushing through when we don’t want too.
We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like admitting it. But there are times when we can feel tired and a little disgruntled on this journey of faith. This is not a trigger to fake an injury, take a detour or call a time out. It’s a call to dig deep. To push through. To glance at our teammates running alongside us and get inspired. It’s a time to think of the ones who have gone before us, that great cloud of witnesses, and allow their legacy to beckon us to keep going.
When things are tough, we strain ahead, despite how we feel. Like a runner who hits a wall during a marathon, we keep going. Like a woman in labor who can’t take the pain any longer, we keep pushing.
Perseverance is no joke, but what is gained both through and after the process is priceless.
Push on friend. The prize that awaits us at the end of this journey is worth it. Let’s examine our hearts and our surroundings and throw off what may be slowing us down. Then, staying focused on the finish line, let’s press on…together.
A STEP FURTHER…
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4