This is an easy answer for the foot race, but when you’re in the fire and the word stamina doesn’t even begin to touch on what you’re using to put on foot in front of the other, do ever wonder “What the crap?! Just how long is this marathon?”
I can tell you I’ve felt it. God takes us to the brink because it’s sometimes the only way we will truly hand it over to him. Like any good parent, he is always there for us, but to grow us big strong and wise, we have to be allowed to put in work and fight our way out of some hardships. I personally find Jesus is my bestie way more when I’m only a few miles in and haven’t trained properly.
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Recently, I had one project where things had started kind of stinky and I learned a lot and we improved over time, so in my head I envisioned smooth sailing (maybe a car ride to the finish), but then I hit a bigger uphill battle than the one before. I can also tell you my prayer time was waning and I couldn’t focus when I went to God.
Many times, I decide my plan is awesome. I start working said “awesome plan” to realize that maybe I actually have no idea what I’m doing, and had I gone to God in the first place, I might have been saved from the aforementioned “awesome” now sucky plan.
So the race of each difficult time gets longer until we learn the correct path on the course to the finish of that time of growth. Unlike a real marathon, I can’t just stop running at some point and have a Krispy Kreme (which I would totes do), or finish the race after a finite distance (23.2, and why would that even be a consideration). This is legit life and we have to finish it to truly learn and move past that difficulty.
How we finish and how many hills we hit depends on our obedience. My prayer is that you are way better than me about walking in faith through it.