Discouraging things can happen when you follow Jesus. Life doesn’t always go the way you hoped it would go. Tragedies befall you. People let you down. You ask questions that go unanswered, and sometimes you wonder if you can keep going.
But whom did you sign up to follow? I signed up, if you will, to follow Jesus. Jesus always has been what He promised to be for me. He’s never failed me once. He’s never let me down. And He’s the author and finisher of my faith, which means that God finishes what He starts.
He started a work in your life, and He wants to continue it. But for that to happen, you need to keep your eyes on Jesus, who ran His race for you.
He had His back ripped open by a Roman whip when He was lashed 39 times. After that, He picked up a huge cross and carried it through the streets of Jerusalem. Then they nailed His hands and feet to that cross, and He hung there.
The people cried out in unison, “Crucify Him!” His own disciples were largely in hiding. One of His own handpicked friends, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him.
How easily Jesus could have said, “I’m done here, people. No one apparently understands why I’ve come to this world and what I’m about to do, so I’m not going to do it.” And He would have been justified.
So why did Jesus do it? What kept Him going? Hebrews 12:2 gives us the answer: “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (NLT).
What was the joy awaiting Him? It was you and me. He knew what His death and resurrection would accomplish, and that was the joy that kept Him going.
He ran His race for us. And we need to run our race for Him.