A monthly column by Vivienne Solomons who is a legal consultant who passionately believes that God wants His people to make a difference right where they are and to stand up for what is true and just. She is also passionate about encouraging young women to walk victoriously with God and she is engaged in a challenging faith journey as a parent of a child with special needs.
Earlier this year I enrolled in a year-long course with a view to furthering my legal career.
It wasn’t long, however, before I realised that I had underestimated not only the course but also the demand it would place on my family and me.
At first, I struggled to give up my Saturday mornings to log on to online webinars not to mention the rest of most every weekend to complete the steady flow of assignments forming part of the course.
After a break of more than 10 years, it was an adjustment to set aside time to focus on studies.
But I soon adapted and found myself thoroughly enjoying the class weeks and the opportunity to interact with my classmates.
Then, somewhere between the 23rd assignment (true story) and the 9th exam I had a wobble. I was tired and, for no apparent reason (the course was challenging but my results were good), lacking motivation.
Suddenly, I was no longer running at a steady pace toward the finish line; it now seemed as if I would have to drag myself there, limping. It was so close yet so far.
Under the circumstances, I knew that I had to do something, but what?
I had started well but I wanted to finish strong.
Run with perseverance
In the book of Hebrews, we are encouraged to run with perseverance the race marked out before us, even (and especially) in the midst of challenges.
The “race” in this context being the Christian life, which is, by implication, a marathon and not a sprint.
The very nature of a marathon is that it is a test of fitness and endurance. The Christian life then requires faith, stamina, commitment and discipline, to the very end.
There is a reward for staying the course and never giving up, for faithfully running our race to completion. It is the eternal “prize” Paul speaks of in Corinthians.
While the Scriptures refer to the race that is our life, they may just as well be referring to the race that is a goal that we have set ourselves, a dream that is yet to be realised, or anything that requires commitment and perseverance over an extended period of time, such as recovery to complete health after an accident.
It may even be as simple (which may not be so simple after all) as finishing this year well, completing our tasks at work and making good on the promises we have made to others over the course of the year — before the year draws to a close.
So how do we finish strong?
Firstly, we need to prepare ourselves for the struggles that inevitably come.
At the start of my race this year I was full of enthusiasm with the result that I did not pace myself and before I knew it, I had effectively run out of steam and weariness set in.
There was so much more to accomplish and so much more that I was capable of but I was not mentally prepared for the sacrifices that needed to be made, and this left me discouraged.
Secondly, we need to focus our attention on Jesus.
When the weariness set in and I realised that I still had far to go, it was then that I felt like I had come to the end of myself and the thought of quitting actually crossed my mind.
I had lost sight of my purpose and the reason for doing the course in the first place.
In truth, in the midst of my busyness, I had lost sight of Jesus and the plan He has for my life.
What is it that you are reaching for? Whatever it may be, I encourage you to not quit and to not lose hope!
May you persevere until you have overcome the obstacles that inevitably present themselves and may you run in such a way that you receive the prize (whether it be here on earth or waiting in heaven), which is your reward for staying the course and enduring to the end.