We began with thinking that the pandemic challenge would be a short sprint. Tough and testing, but most people can sprint for a bit. So, if we get through the national lockdown then we’ll breathe easily again.
We then adjusted our thinking to middle distance. The relief of fewer restrictions was a breath of fresh air (for many, but not for all) yet social distancing continued. We’re adjusting our way of life and hoping to get back to normal.
We’re now living with an unknown timeframe that requires a long-distance view. This is a marathon race.
The analogy is more helpful than we might at first think for followers of Jesus. Rather like the London marathon (with its sign up this month for next year’s event for those who are planning to apply be part of it), we’re not really thinking about who is going to finish first and win, but simply who will finish. That will be worth celebrating.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12v1-3). It’s a picture of the people of faith looking to endure difficulties, to persevere to the very end. As we our eyes on Jesus by our prayerful reading of the Bible then we will be spiritually sustained.
May I invite you to join us? We meet for services in person, also by online zoom services and you can also tune into recorded services (Facebook or YouTube). We have courses to explore more. All of these things are to encourage trusting in Jesus’ promises, obeying his teaching and living a life of loyal service. This will help us persevere while we look to emerge from the present difficulties, but even more so as we look forward to his return one day.