Don't Quit

originally published at Word for Today

I am a wanna-be runner. I will train and run and begin to almost feel like a runner, and life, illness, or an injury will set me back. But for whatever reason, I am determined. I will not release the thought of being a runner, so it’s back on the track... so to speak. At least it’s back to the training plan.

Lately it has been a little easier to get back to my plan as I have a very patient running partner. She is consistently ready for me to get back to it, yet understands my need for a break when illness or injury call for it. She won’t let me get away with “I’m just not feeling it today...” because she knows what my ultimate goal is: to be a runner, with maybe a distance race completed eventually. 

Hebrews calls me to the same single-minded dedication to the hope I have: “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:19-24)

Yes, He who promised is faithful, but there are days that I might lose my grip on my hope. These verses give me two remedies for that. First, “draw near to God with a sincere heart.” That is truly some of the best news in the New Testament -- that we don’t have to take our petitions to God through a priest. These scriptures remind us that Christ gave us the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, cleansed by his very blood. Nothing can prevent us from doing that on a daily, even hourly, basis.

Sometimes I just don’t have it in me to do that, though. When the unemployment seems to drag on longer than I ever dreamed, or the news from the doctor wasn’t what I hoped it would be, when family news is disappointing or hurtful, sometimes my heart is too broken, too fragile, or too wounded to approach the throne of grace.

That’s when I look to my running partner... or those that “spur me on toward love and good deeds.” God placed us here to be in community so that we may do just that. When I have the strength and energy, it is my time to spur others on toward love and good deeds. Other times, I let those that run this race with me encourage me to simply put one foot in front of the other, to approach the throne of grace.

Let’s run victoriously today.

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