Running the Race
4. The fourth point to be noticed in the text is the frame of mind in which we are to run: "let us run with patience." I take this patience to mean that meek, contented spirit, which is the child of real living faith, which flows from a confidence that all things are working together for our good. Oh, it is a most necessary and useful grace! There are so many crosses to be born when we have entered the course, so many disappointments and trials and fatigues, that, except we are enabled to possess our souls in patience, we shall never persevere unto the end. But we must not turn back to Egypt, because some bring up an evil report of the promised land; we must not faint because the journey is long and the way lies through a wilderness, we must press forward without flagging, not murmuring when we are chasened, but saying, with Eli, "It it the Lord: let Him do that which seemeth Him good." Look at Moses, in Hebrews 9: "When he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward; he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." Look at Job, when God permitted satan to afflict him: "Naked," he says "came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." "What? shall we receive evil?" Look at David, the man after God's own heart, how many waves of trouble passed over that honored head; how many years he fled from the hand of Saul, how much tribulation did he suffer from his own family; and hear what he says when he is fleeing from his own son Absalom, and a certain Benjamite came forth and cursed him. "Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more may this Benjamite do it? Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day." Mark too, as you read his Psalms, how often you come on that expression, "waiting upon God": it seems as if he thought it the highest grace a Christian can attain to.
Look lastly at your blessed Lord Himself. Peter says, "He left us an example, that we should walk in His steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously." Paul says: "For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." O yes, beloved, we must run with patience, or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise; but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God's arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth, do not draw back because your good things are all yet to come: today is the cross, but tomorrow is the crown; today is the labor, tomorrow is the wages; today is the sowing, but tomorrow is the harvest; today is the battle, but tomorrow is the rest; today is the weeping, but tomorrow is the joy; and what is today compared to tomorrow? Today is at most but threescore years and ten, but tomorrow is eternity. Be patient and hope unto the end.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 10)