Good morning,

After a very hot day yesterday, today seems somewhat cooler here in London and I for one am quite happy!

This is me after my 8km or so “run in the sun” yesterday

I was dying and I must admit that I felt like giving up 100 times.

This brings me to my lesson for today, “perseverance under pressure”.

As a ran yesterday I observed in my mind and thoughts a certain ‘moaning Michael’.

He went like this:

“It’s very hot”

“You haven’t drank enough”

“Your legs are tired”

“Stop and walk for a bit”

“Just give up”

“I feel sick”

“This is hopeless”

And so on and so on.

And inside it was a real battle to ignore this persistent and nagging voice of negativity and doom!!

And yet ignore it I did, and while I wasn’t able to turn it off entirely, I was able to play another voice in my head louder than it!

The voice of my will and my reason!! And it went like this:

“You can do it”

“One step at a time”

“Don’t think ahead”

“You are doing well”

“You’ve done it before”

“It’s normal for it to be hard”

And so step by step I continued and somehow made it to the end without stopping.

Now credit where credit is due, if it wasn’t for my running mate I would definitely have given up but seeing him persevering in the heat helped me to persevere too.

As we wound down we discussed how just like getting fit takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, so too does the spiritual life and how at times we want God to do it all and not accept that we need to put in the effort on our side.

There is an expression:

In other words, when you are done praying for God’s help and grace, then you must get out there in the world and believe that you have it and give it your all.

God’s grace stretches us and acts in and through our humanity.

Some people think that you must pray and wait for the grace to do something (running in my case) and then when the grace comes you will be able to do whatever it is easily and effortlessly!

What a joke and how much God must laugh at such ideas and excuses for doing nothing.

God will give you the grace alright, step by step! He’ll give you the grace to overcome the aching of your body or the breaking of your heart and while you will feel every ounce of the pain, a greater source of strength and power will get you through it.

“I haven’t got the grace yet” say so many people and with that type of attitude, I doubt they ever will.

Instead they should ask the question:

“What is the first step?”

And

“Have I got the grace for that?”

And afterwards they can do the same thing for the second step, and the third step, and the fourth etc.

There is no way to heaven or to christian perfection except by taking up one’s cross and going to battle with oneself. There is no way to avoid pain and suffering and newage spiritualities that suggest there is are simply untrue .

“Where is the joy then?” You may ask!

Well just like when I finished my run yesterday, the joy was certainly not in my legs or in my body, the joy was in my heart.

The joy of the truth, the joy of succeeding, the joy of overcoming, the joy of persevering, the joy of improving and the joy afterwards of saying “I did it”.

Obviously we shouldn’t push ourselves too far and I am blessed to have a friend who is a qualified massage therapist and even my aching back and legs stopped complaining when they too got a bit of attention.

So what’s my message today?

“Perseverance under pressure” by taking things one step at a time and by trusting that if you do all you can at your end and if God is doing all that He can at His end that between you both you’ll make a mighty team and finish the race!

So may God bless you all, never give up, keep on going and one day you will surprise yourself too for the glory of God and His wonderful ways.

Blessings,

Michael