Note from Team LO: We are SO excited to bring you this month’s post from our LO sister member, Maggie Castonguay! If you want to be a part of this incredible community, you can join today for FREE! Find out more about this online sisterhood HERE. And for more info about what LO sister is all about, visit our Instagram Page!
Now, enjoy today’s post from Maggie 🙂
As a sprinter on the track team, I dreaded hearing those words. Long-distance running is not my strong suit, which meant I dreaded hill repeats. Up and down the steep hill for the 4th time, 5th time, 6th time – I was exhausted, worn out, and cranky. I thought, “I am a sprinter – is this even necessary? I am practicing by slowly running up a hill and I am supposed to run fast on a track. This workout doesn’t make any sense in how this will help me. Wouldn’t it be better if I went to the track and just ran 100 meters?”
This mindset caused me to focus solely on the pain shooting through my legs, the tightness of my chest, my difficulty breathing, the feeling of being sick, and the urge to quit right then and there. I began to run up the hill slower, stop at the top longer, and not push myself as hard. I began to give up. “I don’t run long distances anyway. I don’t need this workout.” I failed to recognize the purpose of this workout. It was meant to prepare me to run my race better and faster. I was building endurance to reach my potential and see the results I wanted at the end of the race. I needed this, but I was pushed out of my comfort zone. I was forced to do something hard. I didn’t want this workout, I didn’t ask for it – which caused me to believe that I didn’t need it and I couldn’t do it.
I didn’t want hard – I wanted easy.
I didn’t want to be pushed out of my comfort zone – I wanted what was known and familiar to me.
I didn’t want to feel pain – sickness – and difficulty breathing – I wanted to feel good and comfortable.
I started to believe these lies because I wasn’t focused on the end goal – which was the race set before me in the future meet. I saw my circumstance for what it was in the moment- doubt in my ability to continue through something extremely hard physically and mentally. Had I focused on the future race, I would have looked at this strenuous workout differently.
How often are you faced with a trial that causes you to say, “I don’t see a purpose for this.”
How often are you in a season of suffering where you say, “I didn’t ask for this.”
How often does it seem like you are all alone in your temptation which makes you say, “I can’t do this any longer.”
Friend, these are all lies from the enemy. We have allowed the enemy to penetrate our minds with lies and shift our focus off our end goal – eternal life with our Father in Heaven. He has shifted our focus from hope in the everlasting to doubt, fear, complacency, and pain in the temporary.
James 1:2 says this, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (NIV) This verse does not say if you face trials, it says when you face trials. We will face trials, suffering, and temptations during our lives here on earth.
James wrote in his letter that we should “consider it pure joy” when we face trials. This is because our joy is not dependent on our situation. As Christians, we have hope in the salvation of Jesus Christ. This allows us to have joy amid our suffering. No matter our current situation we can have joy, peace, hope, and comfort. This life is but a blur compared to the life we have ahead of us in heaven. This life is temporary – which means our suffering is temporary as well.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says this, “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.” (NIV)
Jesus knows how we feel. He, too, went through trials, suffering, and temptations while He was on earth. Think about the power behind this statement – Jesus endured the cross for YOU.
He could endure the pain, shame, humiliation, and death that came with being crucified on the cross because He was focused on the end goal. He was focused on the joy set before Him.
What if He didn’t?
What if He did what I was so tempted to do – and did do – during my track workout? He began to feel pain and said “I didn’t want this. I didn’t ask for this. I can’t do this. I don’t need this.”
He would be right.
He didn’t ask to be crucified on the cross. Guess what, He doesn’t even need us. So why did He endure the cross? Because He wants us. He chose us. The joy of heaven that set before Him allowed Him to endure the sufferings He went through.
James 1:12 says this, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (NIV) Friend, the joy that set before Jesus – it sets before you too.
This is why endurance is so important. This is why it is so important to not give up and to not grow weary in our sufferings here on earth. With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can endure the trials and tribulations that come with living in a fallen world. Navigating trials and temptations without God’s help will leave us broken and weary. Remember to seek God’s help and guidance to resist and endure the trials and temptations before us.
Romans 5:3-4 says this, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (NIV) God can use your sufferings and He will not waste it. Pray and ask God to reveal how you can glorify Him amid suffering. By doing so, you will be able to endure it and you will grow stronger because of it.
We can rejoice in God’s glory and our temporary suffering because we know that suffering goes on to produce endurance for the race He has set before us. The lane in which we run the race that God set before us is unique. However, the race given to each Christian is the same – to spread the gospel to the whole world. We cannot do this without relying on God’s strength and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I needed the endurance to be able to run the race set before me in track – and this took hard work, discipline, and dedication. How much more should we work hard and be disciplined in our walk with the Lord? When trials and suffering come, what is already inside of you will be what shines through you in difficult times.
Our current suffering will never compare to the hope that is to come. It is hard while you are in the midst of it and I am not discrediting that at all. This life is hard. There will be times when we don’t understand what’s going on in our lives and the lives of others. But friend, the reward of endurance is great. We cannot even comprehend the joy that sets before us. Revelation 21:4 says this, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV) When you are amid trials, sufferings, and pain, just know that there will be a day when you are standing in front of the Father in heaven and He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” He will wipe away your tears and at that moment it will all be worth it. We just have to keep going. We got this. Don’t give up and don’t grow weary. You got this and you are not alone. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV)