Lately I've been reading about a chapter a day from the New Testament book of Revelation. The apostle John's vision in Revelation chapter 13 is not a pretty picture. Verse 10 says: "This calls for the endurance and faith of the saints." Endurance. Faith. God's people will make it to the end, but both of these virtues are required.
Have you heard about the Badwater Ultramarathon? My neighbor, Jim Smith, posted an impressive time in this mother-of-all-endurance-races this past July. When I saw him in August, the heat-induced blisters on his feet were beginning to heal pretty well. He went through several pairs of running shoes during the race because the soles had melted.
FYI: The 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon was held in Death Valley, California on July 14, 2008. With temperatures reaching as high as 130F (55C), the 135 miles (217 km) course began in the desert at Badwater Basin - 280 feet (85 m) below sea level. Three mountain ranges were crossed for a total of 13,000’ (3962m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700’ (1433m) of cumulative descent. The course ended at the Mt. Witney Portal at 8,360 feet (2533m). The winner normally crosses the finish line in less than 24 hours, while the course stays open for 60 hours.
Endurance. Faith. These virtues were required for Jim Smith and the other 74 finishers of this year's Badwater Ultramarathon. These runners suffered much in order to reach the finish line. And now they share in the glory of having finished what is certainly the world's toughest race.
God's people are called to endure like this. Christians are called to continue to put their faith in Jesus Christ every moment of every day, so that, no matter what sufferings we may have to face, we will reach the finish line of our lives. And one day soon, we will also share in the glory of God's Son Jesus, because through our union with him by faith, we will have been enabled to endure to the end.
Congratulations on your great finish, Jim!