“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?”
­– (Jeremiah 12:5)

Once burned, twice shy, say the pundits. A tiny scar averts a sizable blister. The handling of a trifle schools a person in mastery over the significant.

Crises—accidents, sickness, challenges that stretch your abilities—are on the rise, in frequency and intensity. How do we mount up, in a world pulling us downhill? Scrutinize every little failure. Look not for blame, but for instruction, to avert disaster when the stakes are higher.

This is especially true of the failure to persist.

How is weariness overcome? By stretching. Not once. Over and over. Beyond your limits. Practice a skill until it becomes automatic, then add another. Harmonize one skill with another. Continually add to the number of balls you can juggle. Push until your ability to run the race is established.

And then you will be a contender. With the footmen.

To compete with horses, however, requires more. Jeremiah 13:11 tells us that God causes the whole house of Israel [all his people] to cling to Him, that they may become His people, for renown, for praise, and for glory. The Israelites of Jeremiah’s time failed to do so. We must do better.

Writing takes enormous effort. Discipline is needed to sit down and put words on paper. Skills must be practiced, honed, balanced. But to achieve renown, praise, and glory requires that we cling to the Lord and become His people.

Only then will we contend with horses.