"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, 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Yes. I want to live in the way these verses describes. Running hard. Never looking back. Fearless.
Confident in Him. Fearless. Radical Obedience. Child-like faith. Realizing there is no day with the same opportunities as today.
But, even more so, I don't want to ever forget that it is the times we stumble and fall that matter most. That humble us. Bring us to compassion for others. Bring us to our weakness. Bring us to Him. To realize our NEED for Him.
It is the times I mess up, the times I grow weary and tired, the times I am afraid, the times I am an anxious and fearful mess, that I can fully grasp how much I NEED Him. How incredibly weak and sinful and selfish I am.
Yes, I want to run hard toward Him. Yes, I want to throw off all the sin and shame. To live for righteousness. Live for the way God sees me. Live without sin and selfishness controlling me anymore. Believe that all things are possible with Him. Watch Him move mountains just by my faith that He will do so.
I want to defeat Satan. Say "No!" to sin. Say "No!" to fear and anxiety. Yes, I want to run the race completely for Him. Hard toward Him.
...But I must remember to rest. Rest in Him.
"He says, 'Be still and know that I am God.'"
Running the race for Him truly means a lot of standing still. A lot of resting. A lot of falling. A lot of failing. A lot of starting over.
A lot of making the same mistakes. A lot of suffering. A lot of pain.
But all the suffering, pain, resting, falling, failing, is what makes the race beautiful. What makes HIS grace and HIS strength shine.
If we were strong, if we could keep running with out falling down, why would we need Him? We need to fail every day to be humbled. To be reminded of His grace and love. To be reminded of His forgiveness that we don't deserve.
God has molded a perfect journey for each of us. We all have points in our lives where we get stuck in the same ruts. Running in circles. Falling into the same holes every day, but we must have faith. He will pull us out in His perfect timing. We must use the times we are weakest to rest in His arms. To let His strength be full.
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
-2 Corinthians 12:9
We can't become discouraged if our race is often filled with failure, standing still, falling down, running in circles, resting, being stuck in holes, etc. We must use these times to lean on Him. Allow Him to be our strength. To make us realize how much we need Him. To make us realize how much we need others and others need us. How much it means to people to simply be asked "How are you?" We need to realize how much it means to others that we are simply "there." We need to let Him use all of our weakness and struggles to help us learn, heal, and grow.
Yes, we should run hard and not look back. We should leave our sinful and selfish ways behind. But we must not get discouraged when we do struggle. We must let Him use those times for His good. We must be patient with ourselves. Forgive ourselves. Embrace His forgiveness even though we continually fail.
And we must remember to rest. Rest in His love. Spend time with Him. Let Him bring us comfort. Rest in the fact that He is in control. He knows what He is doing. And His timing is so much better than ours.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
"LORD my God, I called to You for help, and You healed me. You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; You spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise His holy name. For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
Thank You for being so patient.
Thank You for Your strength.
Thank You for Your love.