We are all called to run our race with endurance.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (NLT).
Yet there are times we become weary and want to give up. Some of us walk through long, some extra-long, seasons of trials that seem almost impossible to endure. We may ask, “Will this season ever end?”
Though we may feel like we’ve been in a long night, the Lord promises a morning filled with joy.
“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NLT).
We must remember that behind the scenes God is working. Working in our circumstances and working in our hearts.
We are all a work in progress. Nothing—absolutely nothing—that you’ve gone through will be wasted.
I’m sure that Joseph could not imagine the greatness that God was preparing for him while he served as a slave and while he sat in that prison. Nevertheless, Joseph remained faithful; as painful as it was, he allowed the Lord to further develop his character during that time. Then in just one day, Joseph literally went from the prison to the palace!
The whole time he was in bondage, his character was being tested.
“Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character” (Psalm 105:19 NLT).
During the time that our character is being tested, we are being refined. It is a season where – if we allow it – the Lord refines us and purifies us so we will prove to be genuine.
“Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory. You never saw Him, yet you love Him. You still don’t see Him, yet you trust Him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation” (1 Peter 1:7-9 MSG).
Do you realize the enemy of your soul wants you to give up before you see the promise of the blessing that follows the testing of your faith? But do not give up!
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).
We must push past the pain, just like a marathon runner or super athletes who push through the pain to receive the prize.
After my son began his state prison sentence, I began my life being held captive by guilt, shame, and condemnation. Despair enveloped me like a heavy fog day and night keeping the light from shining in my life.
Proverbs 13:12 reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life” (NLT).
The heaviness of despair weighed me down.
We are also told in Hebrews to cast off or to strip off that weight so we can run our race with endurance.
We must seek the Lord about what is weighing us down and search our hearts for sins that are tripping us up. The Lord showed me how I needed to repent for fears, anxiety, and depression
We must be willing to repent for the sins the Lord shows us.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT).
When we repent and confess our sins, we are forgiven, and the weight comes off so we can continue running our race.
We must also walk in forgiveness for those who hurt us or wrong us. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (NKJV).
When we forgive others, the weight comes off so we can continue running our race. After I choose to forgive my son and others, that heaviness came off so I could continue running my race.
To run your race and not give up, choose to cast off the weights by living a life of repentance and forgiveness.
About this book:
Plead Your Case in the Courtroom of Heaven
With the slam of the gavel, the hopes and dreams for your future shattered. With a judgment rendered, you or a loved one now serves time in prison. Will another court hear your pleas?
In despair about her son’s future, Shonda Whitworth petitioned the Lord on his behalf. By searching the Scriptures, she realized the Lord redeems the worst offenders and learned how to appeal to the heavenly court. Through this, she received hope from God for her son’s future.
In Appeal to the Courtroom of Heaven, Shonda shares how she went from deferred hope to a hope-filled life. You will:
- Identify biblical heroes who were lawbreakers
- Understand the prosecutor’s strategy
- Make effective appeals on behalf of yourself and your loved ones
Hope for you and your loved ones will be restored as you confidently plead your case to the courtroom of heaven!
About the author:
Shonda Whitworth writes, teaches, and speaks at conferences and retreats to share the hope of healing and restoration we have in Jesus. After her son landed in state prison, she realized the hardships families of prisoners encounter. She and her husband, Eldon, founded Fortress of Hope Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers hope to families affected by incarceration. Shonda transparently shares her testimony of living with a son in prison at ShondaWhitworth.com and FortressofHopeMinistries.com.