"Seeing, then, we are surrounded by this great company of witnesses,
let us lay aside every hindrance - the sins which like heavy garments, cling to us,
so we can run, free and well, on the course before us,
looking to Jesus, the originator and the finisher of our faith,
who, for the joy which was set before Him, endured the cross".
Hebrews 12:1 & 2.
Life - it's both amazing and terrifying.
In a few hours, you can read of some amazing discovery, and some dreadful deed, almost on a daily basis. Our reality is literally staggering.
Sometimes we can get pretty overwhelmed by the trail of such an existence. Life can certainly be hard when the trials become something that directly impact upon us, leaving us wondering if there is really any purpose or design in a world where you can literally be joyful one moment and in misery the next.
In the night before His death, Jesus sought to show and teach His disciples that even in the midst of such moments, life does have eternal significance; that beyond our few frail moments here and now, there is something far more substantial coming, and that sharing life together in the reality of that hope helps us to prepare for what is to come.
Like the runner engaged in preparing to get ready for the big event, there are going to be many moments when the pain and trails seem overwhelming, but the trails which engulf us are not the conclusion to this moment - there is one who stands with us, one who liberates us from the shackles of our own decay, who makes running this race to the end possible!
Jesus Christ went to the cross because He foresaw the prize which was ahead - and that 'seeing' had begun in the very first moments, when Father, Son and Spirit determined to fashion the heavens and the earth.
"Creation anticipates a telos...The God who freely, graciously and powerfully rules has a goal - the new creation, in His Son, Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:15). Even though we await the full revelation of the new, God assures us of His covenant care for all of creation in general and His children in particular" (Willem Van Gemeren - The Progress of Redemption).
There will be an terminus to the alienation we know, and that day will see something truly marvelous - the creation heavy with the glory of God, woven with the fragrance of His redemption.
We can run, like the unclad athletes of old, not because of our capacity, but because He runs with us, He has claimed the prize, and He will herald the day when it is shared with those that He has so graciously and mercifully set free.
What a day is coming!