“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1
As a runner, I find it fitting that the word “perseverance” is what we are encouraged to have to run our race. With long distance races of marathons and half marathons, I can almost see this verse hovering over each runner there.
Each one brings to that start line a history of early mornings (which usually means curtailed plans the night before), sweaty runs, pain, doubt, and frustration. Some faces are covered with the words “What is in store for me these next few hours?” Others are hoping to push themselves to reach a new goal.
Each participant is bringing in a regimen, a very personal one, of what will carry them through. This regimen has been fine-tuned through trial and error. The errors gave valuable lessons, and probably some great stories. Some rely on others to help support them; others prefer to run their own race.
But this notion of perseverance is what is needed not just to get to the start line, but to carry the runner through the race. It’s perseverance that makes someone endure physical pain to reach a goal. It’s perseverance that shouts over the thoughts that he or she should just quit.
In life, there are so many races that we run. We run those in our jobs, our families, in our faith, and in most any aspect of our life that has some distance to it. Perseverance is rarely heroic and rarely noteworthy. Accolades are usually reserved for the finish line; perseverance is what gets the runner there from the start line.
Perseverance is part of the good around me. It is the overlooked characteristic that gets most of us through our biggest challenges. It is a muscle that is honed in smaller races and is ready to stand the test when the big races come. In so much of life, we run races that do not end. Having perseverance to continue to lace up our shoes for one more day’s steps is where our biggest victory may be.