Enduring In The Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV)

A week ago, the Symetra Tour restarted its season and I was able to meet with several players face to face again. For months I have been unsure if I would be allowed on the tournament grounds as the COVID-19 protocols changed daily.

It was a quiet atmosphere. Players talking with one another, but from a distance. Air hugs with smiles hiding behind masks. Both enthusiasm and tension of returning back to competition hung in the humid air. These pros are pursuing a spot on the LPGA Tour, a race that requires much endurance.

I commend them. The Symetra Tour journey is hard under normal conditions. The quarantine, loss of financial opportunities, and limited rewards this year have left players holding a lot of questions about their futures. We all have our own unique circumstances, and yet we have reason to endure the race set before us. As Jesus endured the cross, so too can we endure today.

As I reflect on the opening verses of Hebrews 12, here are some things that catch my attention:

Cloud of witnesses… We do not stand alone. The Scriptures testify to God’s provision and goodness, whether by word or deed, about others who have endured before us.

Weight… The burdens we carry are real and we do wander from the path of uprightness. But we also have the opportunity every morning to return to Jesus.

Endurance… To live fully alive in this broken world requires us to persevere, bear up under, and remain patient. The Greek word is hupomone and is closely associated with endurance, inspired by hope in Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV). In relationship to hope, the characteristic trait of endurance helps us to not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. Endurance keeps us moving forward when every cell in our being wants to quit or hide.

Challenging circumstances, regardless of vocation, will always be a part of our experience in life. Pastor Jon Tyson, a guest on the “That Sounds Fun” podcast with Annie F. Downs (July 21, 2020, ep 232), shared some encouraging words that resonated within my soul: “What a time to be alive… God knows. He’s entrusted us here. He’s put us here because of all the people who have ever lived, he said you’re the ones that will steward this moment. So, let’s take it with joy and responsibility even though it’s heavy.”

I hope this encourages your heart as it did mine. We are surrounded by God’s great cloud of witnesses. Our burdens are real, and Jesus wants to help carry them as we run the race set before us with hupomone.

Tracy Hanson
July 30, 2020
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