Last Sunday a marathon passed by our church. A handful of volunteers from our church staffed an aid station where we cheered the runners and had the necessary supplies for their journey. They were happy to see us after 17 miles with 9 to go!
One thing we offered them was Gu, a supplement that distance athletes use to keep providing fuel to their bodies during races and long training days. They come in little foil packets for easy storage and access. In a quick second they are into your system and providing carbohydrates and electrolytes to your body.
A google search will reveal a lot about nutrition and distance training. If your body isn’t getting the right amount of carbohydrates and sodium, it simply won’t continue to function. Without the right fuel, the journey will be cut short.
As the marathon runners approached the church, we had signs set out to encourage them. We used parts from Romans 5, and the signs read, “Trouble/a marathon produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. Hope never fails.”
Whether they were leading the race or the last finisher, they surely encountered moments of trouble; a cramp, the voice in your head telling you to quit, a blister, who knows. Enduring those troubles creates character that never gives up. That character is one that always has hope.
But if we simply turn from every trouble, we will see the world as hopeless.
Sometimes being a Christian can seem like we are enduring one trouble after another. And we wonder if we will hang on long enough for it to shape our character and make us hopeful. (Insert your long struggle here.)
Don’t forget proper nutrition! Just like marathoners need carbohydrates, we need faith as we build endurance. Faith is what keeps us believing that a better day is coming.
Jesus endured the cross to save us all. That’s where our faith comes from. If we think our faith was built on easy street, we are sorely mistaken. It is built on death… and RESURRECTION. Yes, it is built on struggle and the resulting HOPE.
Don’t simply try your best to hang on. Under our own power we might come up short. Stop at the aid station, keep your faith in full supply, and endure with integrity.
Maybe we should think about church as an aid station on the race of life. If we try to survive ourselves, we are doomed to fail. But because of Jesus and his church, we have what we need for the journey.
Don’t forget faith. It’s how we endure.