Running the Race with Endurance | Reflecting on the Olympics Through the Book of James


A reflection on the 2020 Olympics in the midst of a challenging season.



As we sit a few weeks removed from the Tokyo Olympics, we reflect upon various parallels between this major world event and the circumstances we have collectively withstood. Just as the Olympics offered us the opportunity to balance global unity and celebration with personal concerns and ambitions, the unpredictability of 2020 and 2021 have at times galvanized us as a planet while also highlighting the insidiousness of division and self-interest. As we cheered on athletes and their displays of strength and focus, we might well have felt the ache borne from enduring a year’s worth of challenges.

In many ways, each new day has felt like taking on never-ending obstacles during a steeplechase. And while athletes push themselves toward a finish line within their sights, we are unable to see the end of the race as of yet. The obstacles we encounter during the race of our lives are unknown and unpredictable. Suffering and pain are unmistakable realities of our world, but when we read scripture we are also reminded that sorrow will not have the final word. God’s vision for creation is one of hope, restoration, and joy. We may not see the finish line, but we can be assured that the Lord is guiding our steps.

The first chapter of the book of James offers us encouragement for those seasons when our endurance is pushed to its limits. James writes,

“²Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. ³For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ⁴So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ⁵If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

James’ letter assures us that although the steeplechase of our lives is long and full of struggles, God is strengthening and refining our “endurance” so that we can be perfect and complete in Him. We are our Creator’s prized possession. This is our true identity. When we embrace and live out of this understanding, we can face our challenges from a new perspective. We are not running away from the obstacles and difficulties of this life, but instead, we are running toward God, our Father.

To recontextualize the race as one in pursuit of the Lord--in pursuit of a God who has already pursued and chosen us--is to be revitalized and bolstered. Struggles and questions still stand before us; the race is not yet done. But there are also opportunities for great joy. Our God is with us, inviting us the chance to grow. In the words of Hebrews 12:1-2,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

Let us pursue God with all that we have. Let us seize each opportunity for joy and reflect God’s wisdom and love to all we encounter. May we run the race with endurance and put our faith in the Lord. Amen.



Words: Daniel Fong

Photography: Nicolas Hoizey, Andrew McElroy, Chau Cedric

Person standing by a white pedestal
A running track

A reflection on the 2020 Olympics in the midst of a challenging season.



As we sit a few weeks removed from the Tokyo Olympics, we reflect upon various parallels between this major world event and the circumstances we have collectively withstood. Just as the Olympics offered us the opportunity to balance global unity and celebration with personal concerns and ambitions, the unpredictability of 2020 and 2021 have at times galvanized us as a planet while also highlighting the insidiousness of division and self-interest. As we cheered on athletes and their displays of strength and focus, we might well have felt the ache borne from enduring a year’s worth of challenges.

In many ways, each new day has felt like taking on never-ending obstacles during a steeplechase. And while athletes push themselves toward a finish line within their sights, we are unable to see the end of the race as of yet. The obstacles we encounter during the race of our lives are unknown and unpredictable. Suffering and pain are unmistakable realities of our world, but when we read scripture we are also reminded that sorrow will not have the final word. God’s vision for creation is one of hope, restoration, and joy. We may not see the finish line, but we can be assured that the Lord is guiding our steps.

The first chapter of the book of James offers us encouragement for those seasons when our endurance is pushed to its limits. James writes,

“²Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. ³For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. ⁴So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ⁵If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

James’ letter assures us that although the steeplechase of our lives is long and full of struggles, God is strengthening and refining our “endurance” so that we can be perfect and complete in Him. We are our Creator’s prized possession. This is our true identity. When we embrace and live out of this understanding, we can face our challenges from a new perspective. We are not running away from the obstacles and difficulties of this life, but instead, we are running toward God, our Father.

To recontextualize the race as one in pursuit of the Lord--in pursuit of a God who has already pursued and chosen us--is to be revitalized and bolstered. Struggles and questions still stand before us; the race is not yet done. But there are also opportunities for great joy. Our God is with us, inviting us the chance to grow. In the words of Hebrews 12:1-2,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

Let us pursue God with all that we have. Let us seize each opportunity for joy and reflect God’s wisdom and love to all we encounter. May we run the race with endurance and put our faith in the Lord. Amen.



Words: Daniel Fong

Photography: Nicolas Hoizey, Andrew McElroy, Chau Cedric

Running track
Person standing by a white pedestal
The starting numbers on a running track

Additional readings

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Art Is The Symbol That Moves Us Towards Restoration

We explore the prophetic edge of art and how it points towards renewal.

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

Adaobi Ugoagu Is On A Mission

We talk with fashion blogger/model Adaobi Ugoagu about the intersection of fashion, art and justice.


Additional readings

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Art Is The Symbol That Moves Us Towards Restoration

We explore the prophetic edge of art and how it points towards renewal.

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

Adaobi Ugoagu Is On A Mission


We talk with fashion blogger/model Adaobi Ugoagu about the intersection of fashion, art and justice.