Have you ever watched the Tour de France? Packs of bicyclists power through the mountains in Europe, often topping speeds of 70 mph on their descent. This can make for horrific crashes when a cyclist misjudges a curve, slick road, or the distance between him and the cyclist next to him.
The race takes more than three weeks to complete, with 2,200 miles of rough terrain of the Pyrenees and the Alps intermixed with beautiful rolling countryside. Time trials are also part of the tour. Those riders who endure the entire race cross the finish line on the historical Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Power and speed are two integral components of the race, but the most important factor is pacing—much like marathon running. This is particularly true in time trials, where riders get to demonstrate their individual strength.
While full-speed crashes are less likely because time trials are very calculated and controlled, many factors can derail a racer’s success. Early fatigue from pressing too hard, lack of good preparation, yielding to outside or internal influences, and not enough training are just a few.
We can look at our spiritual lives and see similarities. We often zip through life with an overloaded calendar filled with more commitments than we can hope to accomplish well, and we pray that there isn’t a curve or slick road ahead.
Then a trial hits. Trials are mind-bogglingly slow and require the power that comes from the Holy Spirit. Getting alone with God through Bible study, peaceful prayer, and waiting is imperative for a successful outcome. Waiting, in particular, isn’t something most of us are naturally geared toward.
In the Old Testament, Jeremiah finds himself in a desperate situation of trying to warn Judah of their impending doom while also trying to encourage them to renew their covenant with God. Jeremiah complained, felt depressed, and often showed downright despair. After one such complaint, in Jeremiah 12:5, God responded with “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?”
Basically, God said the trial is for your own good—to strengthen you for the tasks ahead.
Don’t lose heart in the midst of a trial. There’s a promise of the finish line. The trial doesn’t last forever.
First Peter 1:6-7 reminds us that trials are “for a little while” and that we should rejoice in this. Trials have come to prove “genuineness of your faith”—of greater worth than gold.
We’re also told how to run.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.”
And lastly, James 1:2-12 gives us the great encouragement that “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.”
Isn’t that ultimately what we Christians are trying to do? We want to persevere, and can, with God’s sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then we are refined to walk out our faith to help others and in the end receive the crown of life the Lord promised to those who love Him.
The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
So feel confident that when the trial comes, you’ve trained for it, and the Master Coach will walk beside you, ensuring you don’t fatigue.
Isn’t that a great promise to hold on to?
What Bible passages are your go-to verses times of trouble? Is there a time you can look back on and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God carried you through? Leave us a comment.
“While I’m Waiting” is adapted from a portion of the author’s blog devotions, appearing for the first time as a collection. This devotional will inspire the reader to wait on God patiently and reverently to answer prayers according to His perfect timing. The author shares her own struggles and shortcomings in a relatable way that encourages and brings hope even in the most difficult circumstances. The devotions show that it is possible to walk through the valley and not despair while praising God and choosing contentment during trials. As missionary Jim Elliot once said, “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”
“Hope. It’s a foundation of our faith, but a difficult concept to live out. Author Laura Hodges Poole understands that, and this devotional gives us the roadmap for the path from despair to hope. She writes from the perspective of someone who has traveled that road. Her honesty and humility draws us in, while her wisdom shows us how living in hope truly is possible. This book will have a coveted place on my bedside table and will be a resource that I return to again and again.” ~Edie Melson, Co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and author of “Prayers for My Soldier”
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