"Let us run with patience" (Heb. 12:1).
To run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to
suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We
commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the
angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the
invalid's patience the hardest to achieve.
There is a patience which I believe to be harder--the patience that
can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the
stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of
something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to
work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to
run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily
task. It is a Christlike thing!
Commenting on this verse, Jack Sequeira gives an illustration:
I faintly remember the Olympics in 1984. There was a lady. The race
was over but she would not give up. She came very close to the line
and I think she fell and the people cried, "Get up!" and she did and
she finally reached the taped. Everybody was excited. It wont be like
that in the Christian race. You don't have people encouraging you. You
have just the opposite. We will have to gain strength from the
discouragement of others.
So Paul is saying here "Let us run to finish the race." If you give up
your faith, remember Hebrews ten: "The just shall live by faith.
Anyone who draws back I will on longer pleasure in him." Your faith
must endure to the end.
Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to
nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our
patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our
sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service--in the
exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the
contribution to another's joy. There is no burial of sorrow so
difficult as that; it is the "running with patience."
"This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and
a running--a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the
marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a
multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the
time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask
for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would
be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow -- a minister to others' joy. My
patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard."
"When all our hopes are gone,
'Tis well our hands must keep toiling on
For others' sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache."