Running. I hate running. I love the idea of it and think it’s a great form of exercise, but I loathe actually doing it. For me, it feels like torture. A couple years ago, I decided I was going to attempt to make this a daily activity of mine, so I bought some new shoes and downloaded some music to keep me occupied. And I started slow. I knew this was something I would have to work up to because I had never ran for more than thirty seconds at a time in my life. Eventually, I was able to gradually run for longer periods of time. Although I still never learned to love it, I was gaining the endurance I needed to do so. My body was under pressure, so it was forced to adapt. It was an ugly process, but it strengthened my steps.
The definition of the word endurance is this: the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Or the capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.
Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
Depending on the situation, it can be difficult for the human mind to rejoice and be glad when we suffer or experience pain. I know in my own life, it’s been easier to have faith for other peoples difficulties, rather than my own. But looking back at some of the lowest, darkest points of my life, I can see the end result . Though the process was messy and didn’t appear to be fruitful, the outcome was a deeper level of faith. A trust in God that could not be shaken. I gained the endurance to withstand. It created in me the capacity to last.
The Bible talks about our faith being refined as gold. The process to purify gold is lengthy and hot. That’s why it’s called a process. But under heat and pressure, the impurities and imperfections are stripped away. The hot temperature causes the gold to bend and become pliable. And it’s the same way with us. The rough patches of life aren’t there to define us or keep us in bondage, but they are there to purify us. To reveal our sin and allow us to see our need for a Savior. It points us to the cross rather than our lack. It opens our eyes to who God is and all He is able to do.
In my weakest moments, God is strong and more than able. And although it may get hot and I may become weary, I know that it’s not about me and what I cannot do. It is the power of Christ in me, which makes everything possible. He is strengthening our character. He is purifying our hearts and conforming us to His image. So that we can run the race without giving up. So that we can endure and last until the end. My prayer is that I finish strong. That the longer I run, the faster I get. That when I stand before the Lord on judgement day, I hear “Well done and welcome home”.