Running with endurance
by Pastor Tom Anderson
Each night we opened our Vacation Bible School with Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith...” Endurance is essential to the greatest achievements in life. Teaching children the importance of this virtue is increasingly difficult in a world that quits paying attention after 140 characters of type. To farm a field, to build a marriage, to parent a child, to get an education, to build a church all take the virtue of endurance. I might add to this list: to prevail over cancer.
Last May, Karen was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. She underwent complete hysterectomy on June 6 at U-M in Ann Arbor. The surgeon believes that he was able to remove it all but has ordered 5 weeks of daily radiation treatments as a precaution. So a race has been set before us and it will begin in August. We're disappointed yet we appreciate that cancer is not a thing to be easily dismissed. We are grateful for God's healing mercies flowing through the hands of the doctors. We are thankful for the prayers and the help of our families, our friends and our church. We are hopeful that we will cross the finish line, catch our breath and then move on to serve the Lord in health and strength.
One evening years ago, I parked my car on a logging road overlooking Michigan's Salmon Trout river. I donned rubber pants, rigged up my fly rod and then crashed through the brush going upstream for 45 minutes. I was rewarded with pristine waters and a chance to throw flies at fish that had never seen them. I felt the heavy tug of a sizable brook trout. In a few minutes I had in my hands a 12 inch brookie—the single most beautiful fish God ever designed. I was ecstatic. Carefully, I lowered him into my creel and just as his square tail touched the bottom, he gave one last mighty flop and squirted straight up a good foot and a half. He came down onto his home waters and was gone faster than a bag of Doritos at youth fellowship. I could not breathe for shock and humiliation. Then I smiled as the lesson came forward. My pis-cine opponent had taught me in unforgettable fashion: never give up! I have to admit that such a truth is better than sauteed trout.
What race lies before you this day? Do you know that a quick sprint isn't going to do it? My advice to you is to look to Jesus for your inspiration and your motivation. Don't try to be the tortoise or the hare. Be the trout. Never give up.