I was impressed by the godwit’s amazing journey until I saw an even more amazing one. A woman took the Illinois State Bar Exam while she was in labor!(https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Family/woman-finishes-illinois-bar-exam-labor-giving-birth/story?id=73518929.)

Brianna Hill was taking the first part of the two part exam remotely when her water broke. She had already been told she couldn’t get up to use the bathroom because she had to remain in view of the camera at all times. Even though she began having contractions she was determined that she wasn’t going to quit. She completed the first part and then gave birth to a healthy son. The next day, while she was still recovering, she took the second part of the exam in her hospital room. Afterward, Hill told reporters, “Life throws curve balls at you but when I have a goal, I’m going to see it through.” Being male, I’ve never experienced childbirth except as an observer, and I can honestly say I don’t want to, but Hill’s story is truly amazing and a genuine triumph of the human—or at least female—spirit.

Naturally, in each case I thought of the words from Hebrews 12:1. “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (New Living Translation). As the author says, the “race” is lifelong and the course can be difficult sometimes but we can finish with God’s help. Jesus told his disciples, “‘But the one who endures to the end will be saved.’” (Matt. 24:13 NLT). When we reach the end of the “race,” the prize is eternal life.

But I also thought of Paul comparing Christians’ coming redemption to a woman in labor: “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. . . . We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,” (Rom. 8:22, 23b NLT). We wait for humanity’s ultimate redemption but our waiting is not in vain for God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9).

It might seem sometimes as if our faith journey is as long as the flight of the godwit or as difficult as a woman’s labor but in the end we will receive the reward of eternal life (Rom. 2:7). Even as he awaited his death, Paul was able to write to his young friend, Timothy, “The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Tim. 4:6b-7 NLT).

Even if we don’t endure what the godwit or Brianna Hill did, we can still demonstrate perseverance and the ability to “keep the faith.” Everyday frustrations can still wear us down over time. It’s sometimes hard to maintain a positive, prayerful attitude. How we deal with ordinary challenges, especially in trying times like the present, can show the depth of our faith. Jesus compared some believers to “‘seed on the rocky soil’” that “‘don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have
problems . . .” (Matt. 13:20-21 NLT). If our faith is genuine and our roots deep enough, we will finish the race to a new birth of salvation.