“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
// Romans 15:4-6
When we find ourselves dry, down and out, and at the bottom of ourselves, we can be uplifted by the hope Christ gives in His word: we are not alone. Just like a running track, our individual lanes of life run parallel to others. Throughout the race, when we feel like we can’t keep running, there’s someone right beside us, pushing us to continue. And the best part about running this race is that God is right there, cheering us on. We can rest easy, knowing our endurance comes from the Father.
Each day, we are able to choose to set our eyes straight ahead, to focus not on ourselves but on Christ leading the way. God doesn't want us to just win a sprint, to make it to the finish line and say, “I did it.” He sees so much more. He sees us running the marathon, not by over exerting ourselves but rather by His adrenaline flowing through our souls. This adrenaline keeps us running at a constant pace, giving us a deep perseverance that goes beyond what the world expects, because it is not our own. It is the deep revelation of Christ in us, giving us the endurance to press on. This revelation is strengthened when we see Christ in those around us.
God wants all of us to step into His strength and create a beautiful harmony. This is the harmony Paul is speaking of in Romans – each of us playing our part, each of us jumping into the race because we are better together.
In the church today, we have the opportunity to create a new normal, to think beyond the bounds of what is expected, to reimagine what is seen as a follower of Christ in community. By living in harmony, strengthening one another and building each other up, we are expanding our capacity to create room for more people. We hunger for people to find their place in His race and for us to thrive in our own lanes. We run the race marked out for us, right alongside other believers, creating a rhythm – a pace that keeps us all going. Together we are all running toward one goal: bringing Christ into this world. Our prayer is that God’s strength would come alive in us so that together we may expand, endure and run a little faster, so that His love may spread a little wider.
// Grace Hazelgrove