“. . .and let us run with patience the Race that is set before us.”
The “secret” is staying focused and faithful.
Endurance races. Extreme sports. Such are the words we commonly hear nowadays as contestants “strive for the prize” in various competitions. Yet, these shows—while often astounding in their feats—are titillating, the fact remains that they are temporal and worldly in their “treasures.”
That’s why we must always remember the “Race of Faith” is often run alone and out of the limelight. So often, it’s uphill and seemingly against the tide. There aren’t any cheering fans. No enquiring reporters waiting at the finish line. In fact, it seems it’s just the opposite—i.e., there are so many that want to trip us up or want to see us fail.
But, we shouldn’t be surprised—for Jesus predicted that such would be the case (Jn. 15:18-25; 16:33).
The anonymous author of Hebrews recognized this and was seeking to “woo and warn” his readers who were undergoing persecution because of their faith. He knew it’s always “darkest before the dawn” and the temptation to quit is ever-present, even though the Finish Line is in sight.
So, in today’s Manna he was reminding them (and us) of those saints who’d preceded them and how they’d remained faithful in their Race even though they’d “not received the Promise” (Heb. 11:39). Or, another way to put it is, they didn’t get to “embrace them—i.e., hold them in their hands—even though they’d been persuaded (convinced) of them by faith” (Heb. 11:13).
In reality, everyone wants to be a sprinter when it comes to “running the Race.” We long for our “moment of glory” where everyone’s applauding. Plus, a sprint is a short race, not a long one like a marathon. But, dear Pilgrim, write it down in all capital bold-faced letters right now: THE RACE OF FAITH IS NOT A SPRINT; IT’S ALWAYS A MARATHON.
And, never forget that Jesus said “He that endures unto the end shall be saved” (Mt. 24:13).
This doesn’t mean we’re saved by perseverance; but, it does mean those who are saved shall persevere—even though the path grows rocky and steep at times and the trail is soaked with tears of contrition and heartache.
We should also notice our Manna says “the Race that IS SET before you.”
The word “set” (Grk. “prokeimai”) basically means “to be placed before, to set into view, to stand before, appointed, to lie outstretched before, etc.” Even though we may not know what lies ahead around the next bend. . .whether it be “good” or “bad”. . .we must remember that NOTHING will happen apart from God’s expressed design or permission.
Therefore, we should “run with patience (Grk. ‘hupomone’—‘cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, to stay under, remain, have fortitude, etc.’),” by staying focused upon the One Who runs with us (Heb. 12:2a). As the ‘ole Gospel song says, “Be faithful weary Pilgrim, the morning I can see, Just lift your cross and follow close to Me.” Amen and amen.