Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 | NIV

The bobsled barrels down the winding course, more grueling than anything they had encountered on their unlikely journey. The team of four is making great time. They’ve proven they could go from pretenders to contenders. The crowd is stunned. Just as they near the end of the course, a bolt on the sled’s steering system shakes loose, sending the whole sled into an unrecoverable fishtail. They ricochet between a couple walls. Next thing they know, the whole crew find themselves sliding on their helmets, upside down for another several dozen yards. The crowd stands in shocked silence, only broken when the team leader, Derice, calls out to his teammate, “Hey Sanka, ya dead mon?”

I’m of course talking about one of my favorite childhood movies, Cool Runnings. It’s about the Jamaican Bobsled Team in the ‘80s. If you’ve never seen it, go watch it on Disney+ right now!

This movie, like most other sports movies, is about persevering under trials. In the end, the Jamaican team doesn’t win a medal, but they earn the respect of people around the world. One thing I appreciate is how their coach doesn’t sugar coat anything. In fact, at the initial call-out meeting he plays a reel of horrific bobsled crashes. He knows the dangers involved. He never tries to downplay the risk and the work it is going to take to achieve their goals.

Neither does Jesus. He told his disciples they would have to take up their own crosses and follow him. He told them the world would hate them. They would face persecution and trials because of him. It wouldn’t be easy, but it would be worth it.

Today’s verse reminds us following Christ is never promised to be easy, but the reward is worth it. Paul said in Romans 8, “The sufferings in this life are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

In Revelation 2, Christ himself promises “life as a victor’s crown” to his faithful followers who persevere under trials.

Life sucks sometimes. But God entered the mess and the brokenness to suffer right alongside us, giving us the strength to persevere.

“Hey Sanka, ya dead mon?” “No, mon!”