Those were the words Scotty Curlee delivered to the Liberty Christian Academy track team last week. Every kid in the room was captivated with this professional cyclist and pharmaceutical rep turned actor and movie director. (The Potential Inside) He continued. "I was the guy who could hold the heart rate and crank it up Apple Orchard Mountain despite the pain, the rain, the cold. . . to race at the Olympic and world-class level, you must choose to sacrifice much. You must choose to suffer."
|Rick and Tammy Gray|
Great feats of physical accomplishments provide stellar examples of persevering through adversity. Such stories inspire and motivate. I find that I tend to make new commitments and establish lofty goals in the aftermath of hearing such tales. I make a mental decision to endure and become a disciplined woman because of the pursuit. But alas, I fail more times than not.
Suffering is hard. So very hard. All the prior mental decisions vanish as the lactic acid accumulates, the legs begin to fail, and the lungs cry out for mercy. Being in the think of it distorts the goal. The finish line is lost in the distance, obscured by the rainstorm of pain and agony. It is only the athlete who completely and certifiably understands the significance of the finish that attains the prize of accomplishment.
There is another grand example of suffering. Suffering that surpasses all suffering. No athlete and his endeavors comes close. For this suffering was endured because of the greatest commitment of all. This one suffered because of a conscious decision to those who had no power to endure. In fact, they had no power on their own to even enter the game. They were lost without hope.
Suffering can only be endured when the goal is compelling and clear. And should we persevere, the reward is great; we will see the light and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).