So, I am back running again after a good year and half hiatus. The last time I tried running a marathon, I hurt my back throwing my kids up in the air, so I had to give it up. So, now, a little more healed and a little smarter (i.e. no throwing kids anymore) I am digging out my running shorts and lacing up my shoes and hitting the pavement (literally… my first day out, I tripped over a rock on this little dirt trail and ended up eating dirt at the feet of two Zambian women in Chitenges saying “Sooorry, Soorry, Soooo soooorrry.” Humility is always good!) . Anyway, you might be asking, “Why, Steve, are you running a marathon?” Well, you couldn’t have asked a better question. I am running a marathon to raise money for Ciyanjano Conference Centre with a bunch of my teammates. Luke, Megan, Brent and I are running the full marathon and Stephanie, Elise, Kerry are running the half marathon. The marathon that we are training for is on August 29 at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. There is so much to write about this adventure we are undertaking, but I’ll give you all the details later… But, the thing that struck me today is this: “You can’t hurry perseverance.” I am running with Luke and Brent who have been running for a good six months now. I have run for a bad three days now. And, I so badly want to keep up with them. But, I just don’t got it yet. My chest is burning, my legs are aching and it seems as if wherever I run, they have removed the air or something… You just can’t hurry the kind of perseverance you want so badly to be able to do the things you want so badly to do. It just takes time. You can’t hurry perseverance.
BUT, I have hope, that in a couple of weeks and after a few months, they will be asking me to slow downJ “You can’t hurry perseverance.” This was all too real to me today. As I pondered this idea of perseverance, I thought of James 1:3-5 where it says that we take joy in our trials because testing of our faith develops perseverance. The importance of perseverance is to enable us to do tomorrow what we couldn’t do today. I couldn’t run a marathon today if my life depended on it. But, hopefully in six months, if all goes well, I will push through the testing of the trial of sore legs and overextended lungs unto perseverance to be able to run a marathon. Just like I wish there was an easier way to build perseverance for a marathon, the same goes for the Christian life and trials. But, there really is no shortcut for perseverance. If I want to go the distance, whether it is in my physical life (running a marathon) or my spiritual life (serving God in hard places, being able to love the unloved, etc), I have to endure the trials of life to build me up. And God knows the trials we need to go through to be able to do what he wants us to do. He is like our coach, and he puts us through the workouts to build up our muscles so that we can be available and fit for the spiritual marathons that he has for us in our lives. So, I guess that is why I welcome or should choose to have joy in the trials of life (and running) because I know they are helping me to do tomorrow what I can’t do today. After all, that is the goal of life isn’t, to do the works that God has for us to do for the glory of God? Can we say as Paul says in Acts 20:24 - 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”? Is there anything else worth living for?