The Call to Endurance

Open Your Bible

Hebrews 12:1-17, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, James 1:2-4

After my first year of college, while I spent the summer at home, I interned with the athletic department at a local military university. That year, the Paralympic Game Trials were being hosted in my hometown, and the events took place on the military installation. I spent two weeks witnessing a unique type of endurance, but I will never forget this one race. 

I was standing at the finish line for a wheelchair marathon. Most participants had made it to the end, but one was lagging. News finally traveled to us, waiting at the end, that this individual’s wheelchair had been damaged in the race. We all assumed he would call it, but when asked, he insisted on completing the race. 

Minutes passed, and in the distance, we all noticed this man using his knuckles to move his wheelchair toward the finish line. As he came into view for much of the crowd, those gathered erupted with praise as we all watched an extraordinary display of endurance. You can tell that every inch forward required a great deal of effort, yet he continued. As he crossed the finish line, the crowd hushed out of honor and amazement. With bloody knuckles, he tilted his head back, chin raised towards the sky, with pure satisfaction all over his face. 

I think about this man whenever I consider the endurance we are called to as followers of Christ. 

I’m not much of an athlete and never enjoyed running, but I think we all are familiar with the exhilaration that comes when we start our race. We are ready to run, eager to finish, and hopeful to endure. But then we grow tired and weary.  We grow weak and discouraged by the distance left to go. Or, we get inflicted with an injury, stumble onto an obstacle, or thrown off course by a trial. 

Hebrews 12:1 makes it clear that a race is set out for each of us and that it must be run with perseverance. This perseverance is produced not from fixing our eyes on the finish line but on the perfecter and finisher of our faith—Jesus Christ. And while we run with great effort to obtain the prize of an eternal reward that will never pass away (1Corinthians 9:25). We press forward as we consider the example Christ set for us when He endured the cross. 

Like the man I witnessed on that summer day in June, our race will sometimes require us to look past our bloody knuckles and tired bones and look to Him. Our race will be filled with both triumphant strides and a grueling crawl. We are bound to grow weary, wounded, and worn. But we are strengthened by where we put our gaze. We are strengthened as we endure being disciplined by His correction (Hebrews 12:7). We are strengthened as we consider He who endured a great deal of suffering because He understood the great deal of good on the other side. 

In His goodness, Christ is both our example and companion. Calling us to the race marked for each of us and sustaining us through each stride. And as Charles Spurgeon said, “He stands with us at the starting point, and earnestly says to us, not “run,” but “let us run” (v.1).

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46 thoughts on "The Call to Endurance"

  1. Susan Lincks says:

    Let us run, my dear God!

  2. Jordyn C says:

    I’m not sure if you see this, but risen motherhood has a podcast and they recently had a podcast about interruptions and how we can handle them in a godly way. It might be helpful, they’re quick episodes.

  3. Terri Baldwin says:

    “Endurance “ in our faith, that is the race we must win!

  4. Laurie Crary says:

    Churchmouse, thank you for your words, and the recommendation of The Pour Over. I enjoy it very much.

  5. Jessica Fehland says:

    I just love this chapter of the Bible!

  6. jenn mejia says:

    This gives me literal chills and tears because it’s exactly what I was talking about with my boyfriend last night and how we all have a race to run, may the Lord bless us with endurance, patience and humility.