Don't Give Up
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (NRSV)
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NRSV)
Adam Benson lives in North Carolina. According to his high school track coach, the worst thing you could do as a runner was to quit a race or be disqualified. One year Adam was at the regional meet where he had a chance to qualify for the state meet. He was really feeling the pressure - his legs were shaking on the starting line. He ran well for the first two laps of the race, and he knew he could pass the runner in front of him. But when it was time to move ahead, he felt even more pressure. Instead of passing his competitor, he fell off the side of the track. He was disqualified. He usually tells people that he thinks he fainted, but in reality he simply panicked and quit.
Paul knew that running the race of faith isn't always easy. There are challenges in following Jesus and even in just being human. But in today's quoted verse, Paul tells us not to give up.
After the race, Adam's coach was disappointed. But he put his arm around Adam and said, "Let's focus on the next one." That made Adam want to try again, and he never gave up on another race. His coach's words remind him of the way God never loses faith in us. No matter what storms we're going through or what past experiences haunt us, God is drawing closer and will never leave. God never gives up on us, and we should never give up on Him.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for never giving up on us. Give us the strength to continue running the race, even when we are tired or afraid, in Jesus' name, amen.