Stephanie loathes running. She grumbles when it’s time to go for a run. She crabs all through the warm up. She groans when it’s time to start jogging. Even though I’ve assured her she doesn’t have to go, she still chooses to run with Hannah and me.
During the second (of six) round of jogging, her grumbling became louder. Within seconds of the end of the jogging round, she decided to quit. She sat down cross-legged on the edge of the road. “I’m done,” she declared.
I paused. “What are you doing?”
“I’m done. I hate running and I’m not going to do it.” Her face was red and her eyes were fire.
I looked at her for a moment, not quite sure what to say. “So that’s it? You’re just quitting?”
“I (arms crossed). Hate (chin out). Running (emphatic nod).”
I shrugged. “Okay, then. We’ll be back in about twenty minutes.” I jogged up the road to catch up with Hannah for our walking round.
“What’s Steph doing?”
Hannah looked back at Stephanie. “Are you just going to leave her there?”
I looked back too. Steph hadn’t budged. She remained on the edge of the road with crossed legs, folded arms, and a chin jutted out. “Can you move her?” I asked Hannah.
She snorted. “Nobody could move her.”
We continued with our round of walking. In a few moments we heard feet slapping behind us. Stephanie was jogging to catch up. She fell into stride beside me. “I thought you decided to quit.”
She rolled her eyes and grunted. “It turns out,” she sucked in a deep breath, “that I hate quitting more than I hate running.”
I think this is the kind of perseverance we are to have in our faith. God made us to run the race of life. Sometimes, though, when it comes to matters of faith, we give up when life gets hard. Things don’t always go as predicted and expected. There are rough patches and unfair events and moments that make no sense. Life is heartbreaking and difficult.
Too often, instead of running the race, we sit down on the edge of the road and quit. We let go of faith.
It is here when we begin to live hard. Anger. Hurt. Offense. Sadness. We shell up and wonder why a good God would give us a hard life.
The truth is God is waiting to give us a rich and satisfying life(John 10:10). Instead, we’ve chosen to remain on the edge of the road, sitting with crossed legs, folded arms, and chins jutted out. Just like Steph would have missed out on the run if she remained on the edge of the road, we miss God when we sit on the edge of the road.
Yet, the One who created us to be very good is right there waiting with an arm full of blessings just for each of us.
It’s time to quit letting hard be a way of life.
Stand up and get going. We aren’t made to sit on the edge of the path.
Life may be hard, but it doesn’t have to define the way we live. Because we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).