A few decades ago, before society and sports began to change in so many ways, many professional football players dreaded the event knowns as “Training Camp.” Training camp occurred before the regular season and lasted about 8 weeks. It was often brutal, almost like a military boot camp. Some teams had “two a days,” where the teams would work out and practice in the morning, and again in the afternoon. Some players hadn’t kept in shape so they required two months to get into football shape. Some coaches believed it built character to suffer from exhausting, extremely physical practices. Players from those older eras remember just hoping to make it to the end of each practice day, hoping to endure the eight weeks of training camp and make the team. It was a grind!
2020 has been a grind for so many reasons. Many people hoped that after a few weeks of sheltering in place and avoiding infection, the coronavirus would fade into the background. But it continues to be a grind, as people respond with depression, anger, fear, and uncertainty. The fires in California were a grind. Week after week in the months of summer and fall, another fire would be reported, more damage done, more acreage and property destroyed. Racial tension was also very high in the summer and fall, and the bad news was on display on the news day after day. And politics in the United States have been a daily grind for months, with protests, accusations, lawsuits, and ill will evidenced on nearly a daily basis.
How can we survive?
By looking to Jesus.
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 12:2-3 NIV)
Talk about a grind! Our Savior Jesus endured far more than we could even imagine! For about 3 ½ years, Jesus was opposed by the religious leaders of the Jews, and his life was threatened by them many times. The crowds that listened to his teaching regularly were interested more in miracles than in what he said. His disciples frequently misunderstood him and acted in selfish ways. He put up with all of that and more. And worse than any other burden, Jesus carried our sins to the cross and felt the weight of the wrath of God. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.”
This was the grind that Jesus endured. And Jesus triumphed! He rose from the dead, victorious over sin, death, Satan, and the grave. They lost and Jesus won, and in Jesus, we also are victorious!
So we fix our eyes on him, and that is how we survive the grind. That is how we have hope in the midst of troubles, comfort in the midst of sorrows, and life even in the midst of death. So look to Jesus. Keep your eyes on him by reading your Bible each day. Talk with him in prayer. And share your hope with others.
Christ is risen! You will make it!