16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
I am a sucker for hearing about endurance activities and experiences. Whether the story is about a lengthy test of athletic skill or about enduring life’s harshest conditions, I enjoy learning about how people outlast a challenge to overcome their circumstances. Who doesn’t love a story about overcoming? I am reminded of the song, “We shall overcome…” (If you are interested, here’s a link to the song, as sung by Pete Seeger: tinyurl.com/PeteSeegerOvercome)
I am further reminded about how much our Christian beliefs represent following the mindset like an endurance athlete. As a runner and triathlete, I know that training for an event, first takes the mental commitment to the challenge. Then it takes practice. Perhaps overcoming and practice are the mental commitments that most represent Christianity.
The other likeness that Christianity holds to endurance training is that each grows within a practiced community. Just as many athletes train and/or race together, Christianity thrives through enduring the shared experience. Therefore when we hear, “we do not lose heart” and “we fix our eyes,” we know that we are not alone. Furthermore, we know that our bond with Jesus makes us already in community. Because of him, we are already running in tandem!
As Christians, we may not see the results here in this time, but we learn to hold onto our beliefs through both our heartaches and our celebrations. Like runners on a new pathway, we may not be able to see every twist and turn in the road, but we trust that Jesus shares our way. We know that our eternal glory rests through our steadfast trust in a loving God who knows our way through this world and the next.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Even when we may not be together with fellow believers, we are reminded that through our relationship with God, we are already in community. Our reliance on God puts us in a partnership with the One who knows the way. Today, reach out to another Christian who knows, or needs to know, something about endurance. How does our shared endurance strengthen your way in this world?
Prayer: Eternal God, You have been here all along. We thank you for your steadfast way of holding onto us through all of life’s challenges and celebrations. We thank you for the life of Jesus, who helps us to endure through each struggle. Help us to reach out to others within our Christian community. Help us to reach out to you because you know our pathway in the world. Amen.