“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet…”– Hebrews 12:12-13
Our walk with Christ is compared to running a race. A race of endurance. One that does not look to the winner as the first one to the finish line. The awards are given to all those who endure to the end and finish (2 Timothy 4:7). Keeping our attention on the finish line propels us. It maintains our hope. Samuel Rutherford wrote, “Short, and silly, and sandblind were our hope, if it could not look over the water to our best heritage.” On the banks of the shores of our earthly life, may we look over the troubled waters to our heavenly heritage waiting for us on the other side.
More in-depth training in our walk with Christ may consist of discipline and correction. In sports, as our spiritual life with Christ, when challenged, there are some who dig deep and push forward in the face of adversity. As a result, they become strengthened for the next obstacle. There are also those who either despise the training or faint under pressure. The outcome depends on our perspective and attitude towards the activity. Remembering Christ’s love for us helps maintain a consistent view of correction. When we are corrected by God, it merely means that He loves us. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
It is in the challenges of life that we often learn the most about ourselves. We know quickly where our trust is placed. Our strengths and weaknesses are exposed. Leslie Weatherhead wrote, “Like all men I love and prefer the sunny uplands of experience, where health, happiness, and success abound, but I have learned far more about God and life and myself in the darkness of fear and failure than I have ever learned in the sunshine. There are such things as the treasures of darkness. The darkness, thank God, passes. But what one learns in the darkness one possesses forever.” May we remember lessons learned during seasons of darkness in our lives. May we remember how much Jesus loves us!
“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”– Hebrews 12:1-2