Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. (1 Thess. 3:10)

Marathons are easy compared to the months of training leading up to them. Sure, running for hours destroys your body, but setting aside hours every day for months to run yourself miserable destroys your spirit. When I ran my first and only marathon, I could only get up every morning for my workouts because I knew two of my best friends were waiting for me. And when we ran together, it was understood that none of us could quit.

Working, suffering, and succeeding are all made easier in community. As the author of Hebrews said, life can sometimes feel like a race—the kind of race that makes a marathon look like a walk in the park. But communion with other Christians not only acts as a sign for those outside the church; it also lends support to those within the church.

When my friends and I finally ran the marathon, we all ran at different paces. But as soon as one of us finished, she went back and cheered on the next. And as soon as the second finished, they both cheered on the last. Across a long life, Christian community won’t always be immediately available, but desiring it all the time, and strengthening it when you can, will make the moments of distance just a little bit easier.

Work to strengthen your faith community in anticipation of more challenging times.

Lindsey Priest is an Indiana Wesleyan University graduate and lives in Arkansas with her husband and two sons. She likes to read to the kids, play video games with her husband, and refurbish furniture.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.