"The race is not to the swift."1
Some time ago Our Daily Bread asked the question, "Do you remember the tortoise and the hare in Aesop's Fables? The hare boasted that he was the swiftest animal in the forest. When he challenged the others to a race, only the tortoise dared to try. To the hare, it seemed an unfair contest, since he would win easily.
"But off they started, with the tortoise soon trailing far behind. On the way, the hare decided there was time for a nap, but the tortoise kept plodding along. When the hare awoke, he couldn't see the tortoise anywhere, so he laughed and said, 'He still hasn't caught up with me!' But as he ran toward the finish line, he saw the tortoise crossing it. Slowly and steadily, the tortoise had won!"
In the Christian life it can be easy to start well or to "keep the faith" when all is going well. But to keep hanging in through the bad times as well as the good, and be there for the long haul takes a genuine commitment that is based on a deep belief that, no matter what happens, Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and that my life is in his hands. As Job so aptly expressed his feelings in the midst of his despair, "Though He [God] slay me, yet will I trust Him."2
"The race is not to the swift but to those who keep on running!"
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be like the persistent 'tortoise' in my faith and give me the courage, like Paul, to 'strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.'3 Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ecclesiastes 9:11.
2. Job 13:15.
3. Philippians 3:14 (TLB).