Written by Rebekah Trittipoe from The Athlete's Bible pg. 1257
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know when your faith is tested, your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." - James 1:2-4
Complete with sweeping hand motions, my granddaughter loves to belt out "Let it go, let it go." But as believing coaches and athletes, I propose we get used to shouting, "Let it grow, let it grow!" Let what grow? Our endurance, according to James 1:4.
As a 25-year veteran of ultrarunning, I get it. The night before a tough 35-mile mountain trail race, a group of first-timers gathered around, pummeling me with questions and eager for advice. I distinctly remember telling them, among other things, that they were bound to suffer. Guaranteed. "But," I continued, "you must embrace the suffering. No growth, no progress, no endurance can be developed without it. Love the suffering. Be thankful for the opportunity to hurt for in doing so, you grow physically, mentally, and spiritually."
The next day, I remembered my own words. It was hot, near 90 degrees and humid, and I was not acclimatized. Serious cramping in my calves made the task extremely difficult. My only option was to embrace the suffering and work through it because if I didn't, a finish would not be possible.
The Christian life is not always easy - and that's a good thing! Without the challenges, gains will not be possible. Without the pain, laser-sharp focus will be lost. Without the trouble, we will fail to mature. So bring it on. Count it all joy!
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