Not only so, but rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5
I dove headfirst into the pool of running over 20 years ago. My start was nothing stellar. I used the lines in the sidewalk to mark my run/walk intervals. I would run a few squares then walk a couple of squares. I kept at it one slow run at a time. Eventually, nudged by a friend, I signed up for my first race and was hooked. I found something that was both enjoyable and fulfilling. Running brought balance to my life. If I had quit during the early, difficult, painful part of running I never would have discovered the powerful personal returns running brings to my life.
The hardest times come in the fledgling moments of training when I can’t go very far or very fast. I want to quit. I wonder why I started. I look for any excuse not to run. But, deep down I know I won’t make it to the finish line of a race if I don’t log the necessary training miles. Therefore, I persevere. I get my clothes ready the night before, set my alarm for the early morning, get up, and run. I have come to know that if I can hang in there through the first mile, I can make it to three, or five, or eventually thirteen miles.
Webster defines perseverance as insistence, urgency, firmness, resolve, or determination. I can’t think of a better word to describe the mindset needed for beginning and keeping with a running program. Running takes perseverance. Running consistently requires resolve and needs determination. Without a predetermined commitment, a runner will give up because not every day is a good day. Not every run is a good run and starting is the hardest part. If you give up too soon, you will never fully experience the richness of running.
Faith is like running in that it takes perseverance. We have to hang in there for the long haul in order to see our faith grow and mature. We can’t reap the benefits of walking with God unless we stick with Him. Just like running, getting started is sometimes the hardest. Taking that first step of trusting God can cause us to wonder, “Why did I sign up for this? I can’t do this! I can’t do what God is asking me to do. It’s too hard.” God calls us to keep going no matter what. To persevere through the hard times to get to the blessings on the other side. To trust Him.
Romans 5:3-5 states “Not only so, but rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.”
Tough days make it hard to keep going both in faith and in exercise. In distance running, sometimes our feet, sides and knees hurt and all we want to do is quit. But, we keep going one step, one mile at a time believing it will pay off in the end when it counts. Perseverance is want keeps us at the task at hand in order to receive the reward at the end. Perseverance, in spite of everything, keeps us from giving up before we achieve our goal. It keeps us moving forward no matter how slow, hard or difficult it may be to keep going. In the same way, let’s keep going no matter what in our faith-walk with God.
Things to Ponder: What do you need to start that you have shied away from beginning?
In what area of your life do you need to persevere? What commitment do you need to make?
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.