The following is a devotional thought from Jim Abernathy. Jim is pastor of the Westwood Baptist Church, Springfield, VA. RMF
Cindy and I went to Nationals Park last night and had a great time. We were with good friends, ate some delicious food, and enjoyed being outside on a beautiful spring evening. One might say it would be hard to top such an experience, except…the Nationals lost in twelve innings, 4-3. It was the kind of game that frustrates managers, players, and fans alike as the Nationals collected sixteen hits and left fourteen runners on base. To say they had their chances to win would be an understatement. Obviously the outcome of the game was not what we hoped for, and yet, Cindy and I remarked this morning about how much we enjoyed the evening. I suppose the results could have overshadowed the experience, but in reality, the experience, for us overshadowed the loss.
I have heard a familiar statement over the years about the ups and downs of life and the persistence needed for this life’s journey. Perhaps you have heard it too…Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The idea is a simple, if not terribly exciting one. The speed and instant gratification of the sprint is initially very attractive, and yet, one covers very little ground and experiences only momentary challenges. The marathon, however, takes one through long distances where hills and valleys, smooth and rough terrain, and noisy crowds and sudden quiet mark the experience. Walking with God is a marathon experience where joys and sorrow mark the landscape and faith empowers the long view that isn’t consumed with the moment, but trusts that God has been, is now, and will continue to be at work in the midst of it all. Even when the outcomes aren’t what we hope for, there is strength for next step living that makes the entire journey well worth taking.
The admonition of the writer of Hebrews 12 is vital to our understanding of this journey; “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” Looking to Jesus, we can run with perseverance, wherever the race may take us.
Twelfth-inning losses are hard to take, but tonight will bring another game, and tomorrow, another. Every day is an opportunity. With our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, let us run with perseverance.