For most of us, we are accustomed to think of Jesus as One who walked triumphantly through life, undaunted by anything the world put in His path.  And this, of course, is true.  He did overcome the world and, as the letter to the Hebrews says, “has taken His seat at the right of the throne of God.”  But the scriptures also bring us back to earth with the reminder that there were some things which our Lord had to simply endure.  There were days, even in His life, when it became necessary to dig in and hang on. 

                In fact, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us to “persevere in running the race that lies ahead.”  You and I are faced with the same challenge.  If we use this analogy of running the race, then life is not so much a dash as it is a long-distance run.  A marathon race, I am told, is 26 miles long.  I have never attempted such a race – and more than likely, never will; but I can safely guess that the number one challenge of most runners is to simply keep going, to not quit.

                It is certainly true that, at times, this is the number one challenge in life.  There are days when our greatest need is the power to endure.  The question is – where does one get that kind of power?  In those days when you just want to give up and quit, where do you find the strength to persevere, to keep putting one foot in front of the other?

                 Believe that we can find that power to endure by remembering those who have already done it.  The scripture reminds us that “we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.”  In the Bible we will find recounted the lives of people like Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses.  And it goes on to remind us about “others who endured mockery, scourging, even chains of imprisonment.  They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword’s point… they wandered about in deserts and on mountains; they dwelt in caves and in the holes of the earth.” 

                There is a sense in which our period of time is brand new, and our experience of life is unique.  With the rising of each morning’s sun, we go out to face a day that no other person has ever faced.  But we should be strengthened with the assurance that on this day or any other day, we will not face any difficulty that has not been bravely faced and triumphantly endured by others who have gone before us.

                But most of all let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Though He lived and died almost 2,000 years ago, He was and is all of the things we believe in that was made fact.  He spoke of putting first things first and did that very thing in His life. He spoke of forgiving without limit and did it.  He spoke of trusting God, whatever might come, and He did it.

                On a clear night if you get away from the haze of city lights and look to the north, you will see there on the horizon one star that is brighter than all the rest.  Sailors have guided their ships and travelers have guided their steps by that star for thousands of years.  But Jesus is even more dependable than that.  He will still be there when the stars have passed away.  On that you can bet your life!