I recently started watching a show called “The World’s Toughest Race.” It takes place in Fiji and follows 66 teams as they attempt to complete an 11-day (24 hours a day) race of hiking, biking, sailing, swimming, and other challenges. The terrain is rough, the weather is unpredictable, and the endeavor requires a level of physical and mental strength that I cannot comprehend. Each team has its own inspiring story of how they came to be competing and they all navigate the race differently. Some only take breaks at the mandatory checkpoints while others recognize that in order to keep going, they need to rest from time to time. Some are striving to win first place while others just want to see how far they can make it.
I completed my first (and probably only) marathon last year. Before it started, I was listening to the conversations around me. People were talking about the time they were hoping to finish in and the pace they were hoping to keep. One woman smiled at her neighbors and shrugged, “I just want to finish. Forward is a pace.” Her words calmed my nerves in that moment and I kept repeating them to myself over the next few hours, especially when I had to take breaks from running to walk.
Forward is a pace, in a marathon and in life. Sometimes we have all the energy and motivation we need to forge ahead in productivity. Sometimes we have to take breaks to rest and to take care of ourselves so we can try again the next day. Most people I know are experiencing Zoom fatigue or election fatigue or pandemic fatigue. We are living in an overwhelming and exhausting moment. Some daily tasks might seem to require physical and mental strength that we’re not sure we can summon. But forward is a pace. Even when we think we’re taking steps backwards or that we’ve hit a dead end or we’re not moving at the pace we’d like to be, we are still learning and growing and moving forward.
When we look to Jesus we see that he healed and taught and ministered and traveled. But he also rested and prayed and spent time with his friends. So let us look to Jesus in this weary moment. Let us rest and pray and persevere, trusting and hoping in God’s grace and presence as we move forward.