Jason let his machete rest by his side. He was so tired of hacking his way through this jungle. He felt as if he took one step forward only to encounter some obstacle that either pushed him back or delayed his progress. His feet longed to race again on normal soil. How long would this jungle stretch on? When could he run again?
“Getting a little eager to be on our way again, are we?” asked a kind voice at Jason’s side.
Jason gave his friend Matt a half-hearted smile. “A little more than a little. I’m downright tired of this.”
Matt nodded. “Me too,” he replied. “But you know, I’ve been thinking.”
“About the king’s instructions. When he sent us out on this race, he told us it wouldn’t be easy. Ever since the rebellion, nothing down here in Earthville is easy. But remember, the king sent his son to redeem us and bring us to his kingdom, where all is as it should be. Once we’re there, all these trials will be over once and for all. And in the meantime, he told us we should run the race set out for us with patience.”
Jason shook his head despondently. “I’m trying to be patient, Matt. At the same time, it seems as if this jungle will never end! I just so long for firm, clear ground again.”
Matt nodded. “I know. And yet when we were on a clear stretch awhile back, our legs ached and longed for a rest, remember?”
Jason nodded. “They sure did.”
“Well, that’s just it. Until we get to the king’s kingdom, there’s always bound to be some sort of pain or suffering. But remember? The king himself marked out our course, and he did it out of love. He sees what we can’t. He knows how long this jungle stretches on. And this jungle is exactly where he wants us to glorify him right now.”
“Okay, but don’t you think we could glorify him more running a little faster than this jungle allows? I could cover so much more distance without all these obstacles!” Jason countered, waving his hand to indicate the dense foliage through which they’d been traveling.
“Jason, that’s just it! These obstacles and this ground is where the king marked out our course, so obviously it’s where we’re to travel. This race isn’t about our comfort or getting what we want.”
Jason knew Matt’s words were true. But he still didn’t see how he could go on. “I get all that…but I’m out of energy. I just don’t know how to keep going.”
Matt nodded. “Yeah, I guess I’m pretty tired too. But didn’t the king promise to provide all we needed? Didn’t he say he’d always give us the victory? Didn’t he give us his very shoes and tell us he was with us and could give us strength when we had none? And didn’t he give us these supplies and bid us drink and eat?”
A light bulb suddenly went off in Jason’s head. What fools they’d been! Of course they would be unable to make it through the jungle on their own strength. They had forgotten to partake of the king’s provisions! They just needed to lift their eyes from the jungle and remember what the king had done, was doing, and had promised to do.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3