This weeks blog blog by Hannah Nelson – Associate Pastor – Kids and Family
I used to be a runner. In junior high and high school, I joined the cross country and track teams. I wasn’t the fastest runner; I would say I was somewhere in the middle of the pack. But I was a strong finisher! One of my coaches taught me that you must pace yourself throughout a race so that you have some energy left in the tank to finish strong the last 100 yards. That may sound a little crazy to you, I mean, who has the energy to sprint at the end of a 3-mile or 6-mile run? I remember one race in particular…we were running a course in southern California when the weather was hot and windy. This course was loaded with hills and curves, and lots of dust. Midway through the race my ankle began to throb from an injury I sustained during practice the week before. I had two choices…I could either (legitimately) drop out of the race, or I could push on and finish. Quitting certainly didn’t appeal to me, who wants that reputation? So, I adjusted my pace, grit my teeth, and kept on running (just like Forrest Gump). As I continued, one dusty step after another, the pain in my ankle grew. By the time I was rounding the last corner with my eye on the homestretch, the pain was so intense that I was limping my way to the finish line. Even so, I remembered that my coach was watching, expecting to see me push hard at the end. I had paced myself right, and I was able to “sprint” (with a limp) to the end of the course.
Now, we all find ourselves on an unexpected “course” in our lives as we deal with a national health emergency. In this challenge the hills and curves are translated into “stay-at-home” orders, concern about earning money, disappointment of school closures, and general worry about health and well-being. This is a unique time in which our patience, endurance, will, and faith are tested. Have you set yourself on a pace that you can maintain, so that, you will have energy in the tank to endure to the end? As I have reflected on Ephesians 3:16-17, I have been reminded of the strength that the Lord Jesus provides to those who trust in Him. I can’t rely on my own willpower to get through this or any other “crisis”. Only with Jesus in me can I endure to the end—and do it well. I have to set the right pace. This means I must take care of myself: eat well, rest enough, and have fun. But, the most important thing that I can do it to dive into God’s word, spend time devoted in prayer, and fully depend on Him to sustain me.
The strength that Jesus offers comes from an everlasting supply. In Ephesians 3 it says that the Lord gives to us through His “glorious, unlimited” resources:
I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:16-17
We talk often at Covenant Grove about having deep roots in Christ. That is what anchors us in the storm. When we are rooted in God’s love, living out discipleship, fellowship, and mission, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit and Christ is in us. Keep in the word, keep in prayer, and keep in community with other believers. This is the time to set your spiritual pace. Carb loading may work in sports, but in real life we need Jesus every day, not just at the beginning of the fight. May your endurance cup be filled to overflowing through the incredible power of Christ, and may your love for Him be your anchor!