This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

I’m a runner.  I say that rather sheepishly,  not because I am embarrassed that the treadmill is my friend.  But I forget that even though I don’t run an 8 minute mile (or even a 9 minute one) and although I may not look like a runner, if I have completed several 8-10 mile runs (on my treadmill even!), I do qualify as a runner.

One thing I have learned lately is the power of maintaining.  In my current training program, I have made a point of fitting in the crucial runs.  Some of the other days I have not been able to do as much as I hoped, so I have done what I can.  Since something is better than nothing, I have continued to progress.  My results may not always be what I have hoped for, but I have continued to go in the right direction.

I tripped the other day climbing out of my friend’s minivan.  Ended up with a puffy knee and an elbow with lovely shades of green.  Two days after I had finished a long run, I could barely walk.  I have a choice – I can either give up my training or I can modify.   My consistency in my training will pay off – I will be able to maintain my stamina.  I can continue to do what is possible knowing that eventually the impossible will be achievable again.  (And I can learn to watch where I am going or climbing – that would also be helpful!  🙂 )

I do feel that faith is the same way.  At certain seasons, we are able to really spend time investing in our relationship with God.  We read our Bible daily, and we pray without ceasing (or at least throughout the day).  Then a time comes when we are busy or overwhelmed – life trips us up.  We have a choice to make then – do we give up and do nothing?  Or do we do what we can – carry a verse around with us to help us focus and pray sentence prayers often?  Do we berate ourselves that a little is not enough and drown in despair?  Or do we try to maintain what we had, knowing that eventually we will be able to get more involved in Bible reading and prayer?

When tragedies like yesterday happen, we also have a choice.  Do we choose to trust God by remembering His faithfulness in the past and maintain that He will continue to be true even when our feelings may not match that right now?  The words that I am typing right now might be different if I were the one who no longer had my 8 year old sleeping upstairs.   Faith always seems to be easier when we were are moving steadily along the road, and we do not often realize that the bumps are what we really help us want to maintain our faith.  Yesterday’s incident definitely caused me to wonder.  Should I drop out of my upcoming race?  Should I tell my husband and kids to stay away?  How do I keep my family safe?  Is that even possible?

The events in our land definitely seem to be escalating.  While in my heart I know that God has a reason for allowing even tragedy, that is not exactly comforting.  I do know that even in Jesus’ time, events happened that did not make sense.  I read these verses recently from Luke chapter 13.

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

God uses trying circumstances to remind all of us that we need to turn to Him.  We need to repent.  I also feel that suffering reminds us to pray – that we can maintain our faith despite persecution.   Also to pray comfort for others whose world fell apart yesterday.  Even if yesterday only mildly affected your life, at some point tragedy will hit closer to home.  That thought can drive us to despair and worry.  Or it can drive us to our Savior who promised us this in John 16:33.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

P.S.  My college roomie/ dear friend, Jodi (who wrote a column for our newsletter last year), is an avid runner and has often encouraged me in my running process.   I have followed and interacted with her running blog that she does with 2 other friends.  One of these friends ran the Boston marathon yesterday, so I was definitely concerned until I knew that Carissa had already finished the race.   I am including a link to the blog because I appreciate Jodi’s reflections on the events of yesterday.  When she felt uneasy, she prayed.  And prayed.  And prayed.  She did not know yesterday morning how God was going to use her prayers.  But He did – in a big way!  I loved the reminder that when God places someone on your heart, you NEED TO PRAY!  You may not know this side of heaven why you felt compelled to beg God for His mercy, but other days (like yesterday), you might learn why.