Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with ENDURANCE the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12: 1-2 NLT).
I was going for a jog on the treadmill the other day. It was the first time that I had been running in a couple of weeks, so my stamina wasn’t quite where I would have liked it to be. Foolishly, I still tried to complete my workout as if I had been consistently training. Needless to say, this was a mistake. About halfway through the workout, I began to get tired and cramp up. Just as I was about to jump off the treadmill and give up, something rose up within me and I began to speak God’s word over myself. I began repeating over and over, “Greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world.”
I had to slow down the treadmill a little bit and run at a slower pace, but that encouragement was enough to keep my legs moving. For the rest of the workout, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me. He told me when to slow the treadmill down, and at what point I could speed it up again. He knew exactly how much I could take and for how long if I was going to reach my goal at the end of the workout. When it was all said and done, I experienced a little more pain that I would have hoped, but I completed my goal for distance in pretty good time. God knew exactly what pace I needed to run at in order to run with the endurance to reach the finish line. This is exactly what he promises to do in our race of faith.
Running this race of faith can be downright confusing and difficult sometimes. When we hand over our lives to Christ, we are making the commitment to trust Him no matter how we feel or what the circumstances look like. We are putting faith in His sovereignty, and believing that all things will eventually come together for good, even when it doesn’t make worldly sense. But it is so awesome that we serve a God who didn’t just come and say, “Here is the goal. I want you to run 1,000 miles over the next 40 years at a pace of 8 minutes per mile. Good luck!” Thankfully, we serve a God who says that He will not only run with us every step of the way, but He will even order our steps (Psalm 37:23 & Proverbs 16:9).
The fact of the matter is that God can see so much more than we can see in our limited understanding. His ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). He knows more about our race of faith that we could ever conceive. He knows exactly where we are. He knows when it is time for us to speed up and when it is time to slow down. He knows the exact pace at which we can run if we are going to run with the endurance necessary to fulfill the plans He has laid before us.
What does that look like in our lives? Sometimes, it may take the form of a tremendous obstacle or hardship that God is using to send a message that it is time to slow down and connect with Him. It could be that He is allowing that obstacle to redirect our path in order to protect us from an even more difficult obstacle down the road. It could be the exact opposite. We could be in a season where it seems like nothing can get in our way. He may be blessing us with a mighty capacity to run far and fast because He knows that we are currently in a place where we can sustain that pace and not lose sight of Him.
No matter what your present situation is, God knows exactly where you are and exactly what you need. He knows if it is time to speed up or slow down. Your only job is to relinquish control of the process and trust Him. Not only can He see your finish line, but He ordained it. He designed you to run at a certain pace for a specified period of time. The more we submit to that design, the less painful the process and the greater our endurance. Lean into God today, ask Him if it is time to speed up or slow down. Give Him control, and let Him establish your pace of endurance.