Heart Matters: Endurance

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Have you seen the PowerBar commercial where a guy who’s running
a marathon runs to the finish line, but the finish line doesn’t
break? He bounces backward and lies on his back totally out of it
while another runner passes him by and wins. Then you see and hear
the words “DON’T BONK.”

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In the 1997 Tour De France, the defending Tour champion, Bjarne
Riis, lost the race to teammate Jan Ullrich by a humbling four
minutes, one second. Riis was hopelessly out of contention and
trying desperately to stay in the top 10 overall. It was hard for
him to salvage the race.

The reason for Riis’ implosion? He bonked. Also called hitting the
wall or blowing up, bonking is a complete and total loss of energy.
The body uses up its accessible energy stores and when the fuel
tank is empty, it simply shuts down.

Endurance. It’s the capacity to keep going without quitting,
without running out of steam, without hitting the wall, without
blowing up. God wants us to cultivate a life of endurance, even
when we’re discouraged, tired, exhausted, feeling inadequate, or
believing that things seem hopeless or impossible.

The Prophet Elijah’s life and ministry called for endurance. He
trusted God to work in him and through him. But then Elijah lost
his endurance. When Elijah received a death threat from King Ahab’s
wife Jezebel, he was overcome by fear and fled into the wilderness.
He, too, hit the wall.

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But even when Elijah faltered, God met him at his point of need.
God graciously and patiently revealed himself to Elijah, refreshing
him and feeding him so he could finish the race. Elijah –
faithless, discouraged, no doubt tired from his journey, and
disobedient to God’s directives — was fed by God — once again.
Elijah realized that he could not do it on his own strength, but
with God, he could endure.

How many times have we hit the wall only to find God there at our
point of need? Like Elijah, we can’t do it on our own, but we must
depend on God to feed us, uplift us, provide for us, and sustain
us. And he does. Even in our unfaithfulness, when we reach our
lowest point, when we lose sight of the finish line, when we lose
all hope…God is faithful.

So when you hit a wall one Sunday morning after receiving your
fourth phone call from yet another sick teacher, remember: God will
meet you there. When you feel frustrated because you think you’re
not getting through to that child who tugs at your heart-strings,
remember: God will meet you there. When your budget has to be cut
again and it’s already so slim you can’t possibly imagine trimming
it even more, remember: God will meet you there.

Paul encourages us in Hebrews 12:1-3 to “run with perseverance the
race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author
and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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
sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

When we falter, when we hit the wall, when we bonk, God meets us
at our point of need. He feeds us, refreshes us, and gives us the
strength to endure. To endure in exercise, we need a PowerBar. To
endure in life, we need Jesus Christ. He is our power. cm

Mike Sciarra is a pastor of family ministries at Voyagers
Bible Church in Irvine, California.

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