"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
i keep hearing this chant over and over in my head "let us run with perseverance." the race has never been more clear to me than it has been in the last several months. there are times along the race when the path evens out and the scenery is absolutely breath taking and there is nothing but joy in the race. other times it feels like i'm running up a never ending hill and i'm so miserable and out of breath it feels like my lungs will explode. and there are still those times when the path is not easy or hard but all i can do is keep running because i know that there is nothing like finishing a race.
right now it feels like i've entered the wrong race. i wanted to come up to portland to see results. in my flesh i wanted to see people from st. john's packing out the theatre we meet in for church. i wanted to hear story after story of people's lives being miraculously changed. it's not happening the way i had expected. i'm not seeing the results i wanted to see.
on sunday mornings i see a scattering of lethargic people in a theatre. i see homeless people loosing the fight against their addictions. i hear story after story of families being torn apart. people that have come to red sea in search of freedom are leaving an environment where they have been poured into and loved to continue chasing reckless patterns of sin. i have a student who is now in jail who is tortured by his own guilt. another student who lies about having a relationship with her abusive father, and the list goes on and on. yet the chanting of "run the race with perseverance" beats on.
this wasn't the race i signed up for but it's the race i've been placed on. there wont be any pretty metals or fancy ribbons to be won while running this race. i may not see life change in the numbers i want or the way i would measure. one thing is for certain about this race, i will shed many tears and i will learn more and more what it means to love God and to love others. it's not up to me to judge the progress of what is going on here. it would be impossible for me to do anyway through my earthly lenses. my job is to persevere and continue to run the race through times of joy and sorrow.