How to Run with Endurance

Are you exhausted from running the race marked out for you? Have your faith muscles been stretched further than you thought you could endure?

This year I learned, once again, the importance of FAITH when I had to endure a heart wrenching event. Followed by a continual avalanche of minor first-world problems that threatened to trip me.

The Hebrews Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11) show men and women who endured hardships where the physical reality—what they could see—often made no sense. And may have presented God as absent and unloving.

These people weren’t commended for who they were or what they accomplished. They were commended because they held onto their faith despite hardships.

Their faith moved them from a ‘contract faith’ which means I’ll follow God if He treats me well—to a relationship that surpasses hardships.

I learned this lesson when I was in my mid-thirties. I thought my faith was rock solid. Then I had three miscarriages in a two year span.

I accepted the first miscarriage. Life happens, right? Plus, I had two toddlers. However, grieving for my baby made me long for another one. The second miscarriage threw me in a downward spiral. Instead of praising God in the storm, I whined because my two best friends had babies. By the third miscarriage, I shook my fist at God.

“Why is this happening? Don’t you love me?”

I had a contract faith: I expected God to prove that He loved me by giving me what I wanted.

Then one night I cried out, “Lord, I trust you to give me a baby in your time. Or, fill my void with Yourself.”

I claimed Isaiah 27:13,14. “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord … Wait for the Lord; Be strong….”

Sometimes, all we can do is believe God and wait—for His guidance, His intervention, His promises.

That season of loss and—believing God—was a pivotal turning point in my faith. The Lord renewed my spirit and gave me His perfect peace. When I least expected it, He gave me a son … who was born premature, but that’s another faith lesson.

Remembering God’s faithfulness over the years enables me to run with endurance. Even in this … latest hardship.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

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Can You Trust God?

Untitled drawing (2)My young friend’s six-week-old son passed away. I remember her comment after he was born with a rare syndrome. “We did not expect any of this. It’s been very difficult.”

My heart breaks for her, and several other friends of mine, who are dealing with enormous difficulties they didn’t expect.

I wrestle in prayer for them. Search for words that will encourage them instead of sounding trite because I haven’t been in their shoes. I don’t assume to know what it’s like to watch your spouse’s decling health, have your husband serve you divorce papers, hear your two-year-old daughter has stomach cancer. Then again….

I didn’t expect to have three miscarriages when I was in my thirties.

My two previous pregnancies had been glitch free. Having children was a piece of cake or so I thought until I watched the ultra sound technician searching for the baby’s heartbeat inside my womb.

Prior to my miscarriages, I knew there were no guarantees in life. And yet, I felt shell shocked when the unexpected hit me.

  • Why is this happening?
  • What did I do wrong?
  • Why is God allowing this?

Man’s wisdom fell short. Scripture fell on deaf ears by my third miscarriage because I wanted what I wanted—another healthy baby cradled in my arms. Not this unexpected, empty womb that resembled a grave.

I grieved. I shook my fist at God. Griped about the fairness of life. Questioned God’s love for me. Sulked. Envied mothers with newborn babes.

My friends have shared, and I concur, that our faith is stretched during these difficult times. We’re driven to our knees in prayer. Sometimes we’re spiritually derailed.

What do you think? Is it the rare person who accepts their circumstances without a whimper? Or trusts God sovereignty in their lives without a question mark?

That’s why I love reading the Psalms which are emotionally-packed as King David grapples with his unexpected: the death of his first-born child by Bathsheba; the betrayal of his grown son Absalom.

However, even when David is “in distress, feels wasted from grief, his strength has failed, his body’s wasted, he feels like a broken vessel, his year is filled with sighing” David always seeks God as his refuge.

In Psalm 31, he….

Acknowledges God’s sovereignty.
Remembers God’s wonderful deeds.
Praises God for His goodness.
Trusts the Lord to guide him; trusts Him with his life.

I love how David admits in verse 22 that he felt “cut off from the Lord when he was alarmed” by his circumstances. However, David rises above his emotions to affirm what he knows:

The Lord sees his affliction.
Knows his troubles.
Heard his cry.

After everything he’s been through, David encourages the reader to love the Lord, be strong and courageous, and hope in the Lord.

That’s my prayer for my heartbroken friends even in this….