Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Going The Distance
1 Corinthians 9
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
1 ...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Something that's been with me a long long time over the years, and has reared it's head again recently is endurance.
When I was in school I was an excellent athlete, usually winning the 5 star Amateur Athletics Association award in Pentathlon.
I was a great sprinter, and could handle a 200 meters pretty well, but anything longer was a hardship. I wasn't trained for this kind of endurance. I was a winner at the sprint but in the mile would do well if I came in half way through the scoring.
What I learned from trying long distance running is that the start goes well. You have all the energy, you have the plan in your mind of how you will pace yourself and who you will pace.
The end goes well, you find that extra bit of energy, and you make that last high energy surge for the line.
The hard bit is the middle. When the start is long gone and the end is nowhere in sight. There's just the plod, plod, plod of the mundane as you put one foot in front of the other and just carry on.
The same is true in the Christian life.
The start is exciting, you feel you can take on the world. Everything is possible. You know how the story ends and you know where your place will be when the final curtain goes down.
But the bit in the middle can be hard going.
How do you keep going when the tough times come, or even worse than the tough times...the mundane times. Days of blandness. Days of non events where you just go through the motions of living.
I know some people may say, "hey, your a Christian, every day should get better and better!" but we actually live in the real world, and the real world isn't like that. Some days don't get better and better, some day's nothing happens at all. And sometimes, weeks are like that. So what can you do?
You have to stay hungry. You have to strengthen yourself. You can't afford to become lazy, to become disinterested or even worse, dispassionate. And that's where the hard work comes in.
I'm sorry the answer to all this isn't an easy one, where you just say a prayer and all is right with the world. It's more a case of building yourself up with the truth. Speaking in tongues, not letting any negative thought find a foothold. You have to keep going, believing what you knew at the start and wait patiently for God to refresh you along the way.
You just have to keep going.