“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
During the month of October, I’d like to share with you a devotional thought each week from a different section of these verses.
I’m not a runner. To me, there doesn’t seem to be much point in it, especially when you are just running round and round in circles on a track. I don’t mind running if I’m actually running to get somewhere. I’d much prefer to run when I’m reaching a destination, rather than just running for the sake of running.
As we run the race of faith we are running towards a finish, a goal, a destination. We aren’t just running in circles or doing laps. There is a greater reason why we run.
Jesus shows us where are running towards. He has already reached the destination. Jesus’ road leads to the cross, but it also lead to the empty tomb and eventually the clouds of heaven, where He is seated at God’s right hand.
That’s where you are headed, too. Your road will lead through suffering and death. Just like Jesus died, one day you, too, will die. But just as Jesus rose, you, too, will rise from the dead. Just as Jesus is now at God’s right hand in glory, so you, too, will be with God the Father in His glorious presence.
And that’s what gives you joy in your race of faith. Jesus didn’t enjoy suffering and death on the cross, but He had joy because He knew where His race would end.
It’s hard for you to find joy sometimes. It’s hard to have joy when you are away from your family and friends, when you are living in a strange or new place, when you are dealing with illness and injuries, pain and suffering.
But Jesus gives you joy, even now, because He has shown you where your journey will end. No matter how bad things seem here and now, think of the final destination, the glories of God’s presence, and that will give you joy, no matter how hard it seems to run the race.
Triune God, You have made me and You have saved me. You have promised to bring me to the joys of heaven. Help me to experience that joy here and now, as I look forward to receiving all that You have promised me, for You live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.