As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. (James 5:11)

RUNNING IS RISKY BUSINESS, yet I still run. I’ve been caught out in booming thunderstorms and been bitten by thousands of mosquitoes. Dogs have chased me with their teeth showing and not because they were smiling. One of those dogs was wearing a Christmas sweater. I’ve fallen multiple times on the ice and I’ve needed a headlamp to see while in the dark. While running through deep snow, I injured my ankle. Recently, I spoke with a man who got pecked by an unidentified bird or other animal while night jogging. He had to get a tetanus shot.

I joke that no runner ever looks like they’re having a good time. Some people ask why I run and sometimes I ask myself the same question. But when I look back at pictures of myself when I was fifty pounds heavier than I am now, I remember why. I play with my kids more, am sharper mentally, and happier. I run because the end result is worth it, not because exercise is pleasurable.

Persevering through difficulty is like running. Soon, the painful part will be over and you’ll be so glad you didn’t give up. How very blessed and happy are those who persevere. It doesn’t come easily, but it’s worth it.

Reflect on the fact that the greatest happiness of your perseverance is Jesus.

Neal Eckert lives in Michigan with his loving wife and seven young children. He staff writes full-time for a hunting and fishing organization.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.