Growing up I enjoyed running; I enjoyed the exhilarating speed, the cool wind in my face, the rush of blood to my cheeks and the dizzy feeling in my head, surely caused by the oxygenation process. Soon my legs were so fast I couldn't keep up with them and hardly felt the ground under my feet. I enjoyed racing other kids over small distances. Relay was also so much fun. I showed my focusing skills and speed when we played "Capture the Flag," another summer game we played often, in addition to soccer.
The older I got the longer the distance I tried to cover. To my dismay, I realized I could not go too far. I was a sprint runner and not a marathon runner. What I lacked was endurance, which needs to be cultivated. It takes intentionality and the willingness to withstand the rigor of the training.
A Christian's life is much like that; we move from milk to solid food (see 1 Corinthians 3:2) from basic training to one that is more complex (see 1 Timothy 4:7-8). Clarity on the end goal (2 Corinthians 10:7) trains one to endure the hardship of discipleship and faith development (Mark 13:13).
I find myself thinking of Milton Quiles, he is truly an example of committed endurance to me. Mr. Quiles has a passion for reaching out to people and give to them what is most precious to him, which, he believes, is God given: the ability to support harmonious, integrated growth. He reaches out with the intent of supporting people in their growth as spiritual beings. Master Quiles is the karate instructor to my children at the Hammonton Health and Fitness. He is also a devout Christian. He talks to people (especially to children) in ways that inspire desire to reach one's full potential and integrate body, mind and spirit. This he teaches with a relentless trust that enduring the training with dedication and focus will support the development of the confident, whole person that one can be. My sense is that, when he looks at people, he sees the person they can become. I personally have witnessed how my children are developing their own potentials with grace thanks to Master Quiles' influence.
The meaning we give to the hardship of the present moment will stimulate endurance for the journey. No present hardship will discourage a Christian's endurance (2 Corinthians 4:7-10) because we live in Christ.