I like how cryptic Paul is sometimes. His original readers must have looked at each other in bewilderment at times and asked “what does he mean by that?”
This passage is one of those. Paul encourages us to face suffering like a soldier, an athlete and a farmer.
Soldiers are tough and focused. They don’t crumble when things get hard. Am I like that when suffering comes my way?
Athletes follow the rules to the letter so they don’t get disqualified. Do I maintain my integrity even in the face of hardship? Or do I teeter on the brink of disqualification in moments of testing?
Farmers don’t farm for nothing. There is a harvest if they work hard. And there is a reward for me if I persevere. Am I focusing on the finish line, the reward, and letting that thought get me through this season of suffering?
Lord, please keep me and help me be strong in this season of suffering.
Written by Boudy vanNoppen