The Suffering Race

The Suffering Race by Mariana

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“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” ~ Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

I have a love/hate attitude towards running. I enjoy doing it because of the benefits it brings: staying fit, clearing my mind, getting fresh air, etc. And I always feel good after a run even though there are times when I feel like I dropping to the floor feeling exhausted. On the other hand, I often dread running. Regardless of all the good things it brings, I really hate getting ready for a run and starting it. My body is not always prepared for the run. For example, there are times when I don’t run for a long time so there might be some aches here and there. Or I run in a bad mood, so I end up running in a bad mood. Then I think about how far I have to run. Ugh. Yet, I run because I know the results will be worth it.

So, I’m running. And during the run, there are many obstacles I face. Stomach pains. Nausea. Knee pain. Heavy Breathing. Shoulder pain. Mental Battles. Exhaustion. Distractions. The music I’m listening to. So many problems, both small and possibly life threatening. I want to quit but I keep going. I think I’ll never finish, but then I think I can run for hours. So much can happen within one run. I go through periods of feeling everything to feeling nothing: strong to weak, winner to loser, determined to lazy.

As I continue to push myself, I see the end of my run. Before, I couldn’t think of actually making it through the run. And even though I dreaded it like no other and I pleaded with God, Why?, I knew that it had to be done. If I don’t run, I will not get stronger, faster and my mind will not reach a level of peace. If I don’t run, I stay in the same place, in the same level, and possibly even fall. Therefore, when I finish a run, no matter how tired I am or how much I struggled, I am glad it happened.

To me, running is a perfect image of a human suffering under God’s will. It’s hard to believe that God can use our sufferings to make us stronger. We are often too busy or too focused on living comfortably and avoiding fear-thinking life would be better. If only we knew that suffering could be a way to willingly seek God. Who needs God when one is doing fine? There’s nothing wrong with being afraid to suffer. Jesus, Himself, was afraid to die. Mark 14:35-36 says, “Going a little farther, [Jesus] fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’” (NIV). Furthermore, in Luke 22:44, Jesus was so afraid that it says that Jesus’ sweat was like blood (NIV).

I see suffering as a blessing. It is a chance to see who God truly is, what He truly does, what we should learn, and a chance to grow in our relationship with God. My relationship with God is nothing without suffering. Without suffering, I am swimming in lukewarm water. In other words: boring. If I didn’t come to Korea to teach English, I would have stayed in the US battling to get out of my comfort zone. And although God has broken me so that the only thing left I have to call on is Him, it was worth it. I found contentment in my suffering. And like Romans 5 says, we are persevering, building character, and having hope. All this is necessary according to Romans 5:2 which says, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (NIV).

I love seeing how God teaches us through everyday moments, like running. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. As always, we love hearing from you! ❤

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