DAY 2: UNCERTAIN DESTINATIONS
The first important aspect that can make or break endurance is our awareness of the finish line. In the case of the Comrades marathon, the athletes know exactly where they are heading. While they are running, they constantly think about the packed stadium at the finish line. They know their loved ones are waiting there. And they know that the lawn under their feet will feel like a soft mattress when they receive their medal. But what happens when we have no idea where our endurance might or might not be taking us?
The Israelites only had a vague idea of where their wilderness journey was taking them. The initial promise of deliverance from Egypt was clear enough. So they did everything Moses told them meticulously. “Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread. For it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day” (Exodus 12:17, NLT). But the destination that would take more endurance than they could ever imagine was very vague. God simply said that He would give them another country. “When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony” (v.25, NLT). They had no point of reference for knowing whether it would even be worth all the pain and drama they were facing for years on end. And unlike Abraham, we now don’t remember them for their unshakable faith.
Abraham had a similar experience to that of the Israelites who left Egypt. “He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith - for he was like a foreigner, living in tents” (Hebrews 11:8-9, NLT). But Abraham did not lose hope as the Israelites did so often during their wilderness years. What do you think made the difference?
Abraham’s perception of his endpoint was much different from the Israelites’ expectations. All Abraham’s endurance journeys had one thing in common. The endpoint was “Who”, not “where”. While he was living in a harsh, foreign land, he kept looking forward to meeting the One who promised him another country. “But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16, NLT). When Abraham had to sacrifice the son he waited for for so long, he did not forget the One who gives life in the first place. “Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again” (v. 19).
Do you have a clear idea of where you are heading on your endurance journey? Do you find it difficult to see God as the end point of your race?
Let us allow God to lead us to where his promises intends to take us, closer to Him. Let us not allow uncertain endings to cause us to give up the race towards unending joy in Him. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:2, NLT).