"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. "
Hebrews 12: 1-3
I can picture the grandstands filled with cheering Christians who've gone on before me. Abel, a righteous man; Noah, who built an ark while his neighbors laughed at him; Abraham, who lived in tents while he looked forward to the City "whose architect and builder is God"; Joseph, who was sold by his brothers and thrown into jail; Job, who endured great losses yet knew his Redeemer lives; Mary, mother of Jesus, whose life was changed by an unplanned pregnancy as the Messiah made his entrance in Bethlehem.
If they can endure their hardships, so can I. Lord, I long to cast away all that inhibits my race. I praise you for all the times you helped me to my feet, smiling and prodding me onward. When I was lowest, you carried my in your everlastingly strong arms, for, you yourself endured the worst on that black day, when the sun stopped shining at midday as you hung on a cross, the Father turning his face away as you bore the burdens of the world. This you accepted so that I may not lose heart!