“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1b
The life to which God has called us is a race he’s prepared for us. When we think of a race we think of a winner receiving their prize. As followers of Christ, our prize is eternity with him. Eternity will be glorious! We’ll realize how the race was well worth the effort. Until then, this race of life can feel like a slow boat to China. There are days when it’s hard to pick up our foot to take the next step. Other days we may be running at a good pace when all of the sudden, we trip over a bump in the way. There are many bumps we may encounter in our race of life. Let’s look at a few of those bumps and see how to navigate them for God’s glory and our good.
- BUMPS OF MY OWN CREATION
It’s hard to believe that what has tripped us up could actually have been caused by us! When we sin, we create a bump in our road. This bump is not only the sin that diverts us from the way we should go, but contains the consequences of that sin. This bump can make our lives stall as it prevents us from going forward. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Psalm 51:3 This is David’s confession after the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the arranging of the murder of her husband. This caused a huge bump in David’s forward movement, preventing him from following God. Even when he repented, he still suffered the consequences of his sin. (2 Samuel 12:1-23) Repentance was the way around the bump in his road. It’s our way too. When we repent, God forgives and helps us get back on track.
- BUMPS THROWN IN MY WAY
We live with others who are involved in our lives. These people may be relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or church members. All people are sinners. There are times when we are sinned against. When this happens it as if the person has thrown a large rock in front of us which prevents us from moving. At times like this, it’s easy to lose our way and become angry or bitter. However, God has given us an example in Joseph. His brothers sinned against him by selling him to a caravan on their way to Egypt. During his time in Egypt, he was a slave, wrongly accused, put in prison, and eventually Pharaoh’s right hand man. (Genesis 37, 39-43) This bump in the road took Joseph in a totally different direction from what he had planned for his life. What we learn from this is that the bump thrown in front of us by someone’s sin against us doesn’t stop God from his purposes. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but god meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 This was Joseph’s testimony to his brothers.
- BUMPS OUT OF MY CONTROL
Our world has been cursed by sin. “For the creation was subjected futility, no willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:20-21 When Adam sinned, the world was affected by sin. As long as we live in this world, there will be things that come up which are out of our control. Some examples of this kind of bump may be a cancer diagnosis, a job loss, or a prodigal child. These things happen and they happen to us. We need to not allow these bumps to set us off course. Acceptance of these types of bumps are hard because we definitely want to be in control of every part of our lives. However, we’re not and we have to give in to God’s control. “…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 130:16b (NIV) We can yield to God’s control because he has ordained the day, the problem, the time, the place, and the bump. He knows; and our job is to trust him as we seek to go over, around, or walk through the bump he has allowed in our road.
Some days we’ll encounter many bumps in the road and others just a few. As we encounter them, we can repent, forgive, trust God, and yield to God’s control. This isn’t easy either but we’re not left to wonder how.
“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 12:2
There’s our answer as we are stopped by a bump. We are to look to Jesus. He has run this race ahead of us and sat down next to God who is satisfied with him. Jesus has completed the perfect race for us so that we can keep our eyes on him. We need to keep in mind that no matter how hard this life’s race is, it’s easy in comparison to the life Jesus lived for us. The prize is awaiting us. Eternity is coming!