Day 17

The Call to Endurance

from the Hebrews reading plan

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

BY Charaia Callabrass

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).

Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "The Call to Endurance"

  1. Kimberly Z says:

    @Sarah D. Praying for you during this season. I can completely relate to your anxiety and the struggles that it can bring. I pray you find light during this time. I know God will find a way out of your current situation in the perfect time. If there is anything I can do to help you please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’m happy to help in anyway that I can.

  2. Kimberly Z says:

    @Tina @Traci @Susan praying for all of you during your grief. I cannot imagine what any of you have been through and I admire all of your strength. All of you are such great examples to those around you.

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray I would run this race well. ❤️✝️

  4. GramsieSue says:

    The one theme that runs through this chapter is endurance.
    The believers were getting weary and wanted to give up.
    Oh yes, we all know that feeling.
    The writer of Hebrews was encouraging them to keep moving forward. To remove anything that would hinder their progress.
    Faith in Christ enables us to endure.
    We have to keep on looking to Jesus. Not just once. Continuously. Every minute of every day.

    Instead of trying to escape the difficulties of life, we should rather be “exercised” by them so that we might grow and mature and become more like Him.

    Oh these lessons are hard. We want easy. But that’s not what helps us grow. So we look to Jesus, stay fixed on Him, seek Him, yield to His Spirit…and grow in faith.

    Prayers for those of you who have painful anniversaries.
    Hugs to all. ❤️

  5. Claire B says:


  6. Cee Gee says:

    KAT D, the NIV does paint a painful picture in that verse. If you use the links above the devotional, you can choose other translations easily. SRT uses CSB, but you can tap on that link to see other translations. Hope that helps!

  7. Mercy says:

    The chastening of God is grievous. I listened to a preacher who raised this question, “Can you tell the difference between God’s chastening and the devil’s attack?”. I pondered and agreed that there was much similarity between the two. If we are mature, which we ought to desire to be, we need to be able to discern the difference. The preacher went on to disclose his observation that God’s testing/chastening is to correct us and stretch us to another level to be like Him for a bigger mission, a promotion ahead, while the devil’s attack is to destroy us or completely finish us. My loving dad used to spank me with a rod when I was little. He did that once or twice my entire childhood, and that made me so well behaved, and I learnt to respect boundaries early on. Looking back, I am thankful. I remembered it hurt and I cried for a bit, yet when I looked at my dad, it hurt him too -I can never forget! The pain of a Father who disciplines/chastises out of love shows his compassion and tender mercy. But the devil is wicked, if I fall and cry- by his tripping- he will rejoice and throw a party at my misfortune. God is merciful in His chastening to conform & mold me into His godly and tough characters. All the while, God can turn the wounds and scars the devil brings me into a weapon of discernment and an emblem of strength. A seasoned sailor after all is marked by the storms he has been through. It is hard to understand that our suffering is ordained, foreseen, allowed by God for the glory of His purpose. Despite our limited understanding and dislike of the grievous chastise, blessed are those who endure to the end, for they will be saved (Matthew 24:13). “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:5-6). Father, may your Grace help us to embrace the loving chastise as it comes with thankfulness and understanding, help us to remember Your example to focus on the joy ahead to be able to endure the weight of our own cross. Bless us with the joy to endure, and the power to finish strong. Amen. Be blessed dear sisters.

  8. Susan says:

    Tina and Traci, I am praying for you both as the anniversaries approach. No mother ever wants in this “club” , the sacred circle of the sorrowing. But let us all run this race for God’s glory and honor. As our family approaches Andy’s birthday the day before Thanksgiving,(he was born on Thanksgiving), may we do so with mourning and joy….that we had him for almost 44 years.

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