First Step: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Endurance is what pushes the athlete to achieve the next level.
It’s what keeps the explorer trudging upward over the next mountain range.
And endurance is what enables those who are suffering to face another setback,
to take one more painful step forward and to do so without losing heart.
From a very early age, I had a deep, inner drive to succeed, to conquer whatever challenge came my way. It was as if the passion to endure was woven through the very fiber of my being. Enduring the process of intense competition was part of who I was. It was second nature to me. This drive served me well on the road to becoming a professional athlete.
It also served me well when I was first diagnosed with cancer and was told that outside of a miracle I would never pitch again. When I started rehab, I didn’t know how much I would have to endure in order to get to a place where I could even stand on the mound and throw a baseball, much less pitch at the Major League level. But I loved the challenge of the process and taking on that physical challenge came very natural to me.
After my comeback, the cancer returned. There were more surgeries, radiation, a relentless staph infection and amputation – physically I was weaker than I had ever been with barely the strength to take one more painful step forward – I could not believe it – there was no personal drive left.
What surprised me even more was that because of the physical affliction I became weak emotionally and spiritually – along with the physical pain I also experienced a deep depression and a dark night of the soul.
Unfortunately, when you are facing physical affliction, your physical being is not the only part that is challenged. We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings and all are interdependent. It is impossible to have one part of our being impacted without the impact being felt by all three parts.
I was at the weakest point I had ever been … physically, emotionally and spiritually. I turned my eyes upon Jesus … the only step I had the strength to take.
My eyes are always looking to the LORD for help.
PSALM 25:15 (NCV)
DEAR FRIENDS, do not become weary and give up on your journey. Take that first step forward and keep your eyes on Jesus – who did endure the cross – who knows our pain – is seated beside the Father’s throne and intercedes for you and me.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,
the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Because of the joy awaiting him,
he endured the cross,
disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;
then you won’t become weary and give up.
HEBREWS 12:1-3 (NLT)
On the journey with you,