It’s official: I am accepting my daughter’s challenge. How hard can the training be for a ½ marathon anyway? It’s not a WHOLE marathon – that would be crazy. Plus, I plan to utilize the walk/run method to conquer the beastly 13.1 miles. Today, armed with the RunKeeper app, I set off to start my formal training with a 5K run. The 5K is only a bit over 3 miles so I figured that this much shorter distance would be a great place to start. If all else fails, I could walk it.
All in all I did pretty well…that was until the last 0.6 miles. Having had little to no consistent physical activities over the years, my 52 year old and formally athletic legs met their match. Did I finish? Oh yes – I finished but not without my new companion ENDURANCE.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus, “for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.” Like all those listed in the proceeding chapter, Jesus too had a course set before him. How did He endure? The joy of what He knew finishing the race would bring. The verse will go on to say that He sat down at the right hand of The Father. That, plus saving the world its sin, would certainly be the Stanly Cup of all things heavenly. It appears to me that our scripture is indicating that there is direct link between joy and endurance.
This takes us back to where I started. The joy set before me is running with my daughter next March and watching the family’s faces while I cross the finish line. I could have easily quit today after 2 miles. And it would have justified by the fact that 2 miles is further than I ran the day before. But I kept my eyes on the prize – seeing my family cheering for me at the finish line. Was there any “joy” in the pain I felt in my lungs, feet, and legs? Not hardly. But I was able to endure knowing that there was something waiting for me on the other end.
In the scripture I referred too, the word endure means to “hold up under the pressure.” As the writer suggests, a marathon takes endurance of this nature. There will most certainly be set-backs, injuries, and disappointments. But if we ever keep before us the joy and satisfaction associated with reaching our goal, the endurance will become more tolerable.
Whether you are in ministry, business, or just trying to be a good parent or spouse, you MUST find the joy in what you doing. Look ahead at the goal line and endure the hardships. There will come a day when you too will be able to sit, look back, and be glad you stuck it out through the difficulties.