“...And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates & perfects our faith. Living on a college campus filled with young people is never dull at the least. We live our family life intermingled with hungry students ready for food, desserts and the Word. It's a wonder, but being nearly 20 years apart from them, I have the same goals. Wink.
Some of my greatest perks, besides praying and learning with my own children and husband, is coming alongside the students and encouraging them to keep on going. It brings me joy inside to think something so simply put can be so profound to them. The Lord's Word does not return empty!
A lot of the time, the students learn so much, which is a wonderful thing, but they tend to feel that their actions will live up to the measuring stick of their knowledge; and it is not always true! It takes endurance to let your actions meet your spirit. Only with a patient walk with God, can those things become possible.
It reminds me of the training it takes to run a marathon.
I've heard it said, “Everything you want to find out about yourself is found in 26.2 miles."
Now that may not be saying very much from a natural standpoint, but it does instigate a few emotions for an athlete's heart. After months and months of training, the thought of running a 26 mile race had my mind in knots the first time I had followed through with it. But then came the next one. I was training. I knew I could do it, but I wanted to do better than before.
I had two things on my mind that day:
• “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
• If you want the pain to end, you've got to cross the finish line.
After an hour of stretching and Porta-potty visits, the race gun popped!
The goal, when you begin a marathon, is to do the first 6 miles at a pace way below your best. Experienced runners say, "No matter how good you feel, make sure you don't run fast. Every minute you take feeling good, comes back double in the end." So it's important to stay patient and steady. Then you will soon pick up the pace. Without guidance in this area, you'll want to run hard and fast, because you may imagine yourself running like this for the whole course. Yes, their will be ups-and-downs, but you've got to take your time.
Pace Yourself. Stay Prepared. Don't veer off. Stay the Course. And the reward comes.
When you are tired, and the temptation is there, your body is telling you to stop running!
It was probably about the 14th mile that day. I began to feel the tiredness creeping in. Gels were ingested, and to be honest, the thought of cheating a little began to creep in. I thought to myself how I might cut the corners or cut off a mile by just slipping on to the other side very easily and head the opposite direction.
There are so many things out there that want us to cheat just a little. They are there to tempt us, but the Bible says, “…Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”(Hebrews 12:1).
You've got to stay the course and fix your heart and mind on His Love for you. God showed me much of His strength in so much of my weakness...mile-by-mile. He showed me to continue with what I know. I have trained for this. God's going to be there all the way through. And I'm going to make it to the end!
I had set a goal to beat my personal record of 4 hrs. 20 minutes. And all the way through, I asked for that. Soon, 3:59 turned to 4, and I still had 3 miles to go. It didn’t look promising. As I headed towards the last mile, I looked down at my watch and saw that it was at 4:19. I knew I wasn't going to make it. I was crushed. I wanted to stop right there. Thoughts of giving up running altogether were present. The crowd was cheering as I came down the long stretch...I crossed the finish line at 4:24...
As I felt that hidden pang of letting myself down, the Lord spoke to my heart. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Recently, I read:
"Run to win. Run to finish first. At the very least run it in such a noble, honorable, and faithful manner that you are allowed to finish. Compete so that even if you do not win all of life, you will not be ashamed of how well you finished. And remember, the race isn't won on the track, its won in the training and preparation." ~T.Woodward
The Lord spoke these words to my heart that day.
"There was not a moment that you can say that you didn't give it your best. And that's what I want! Your very best."
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates & perfects our faith. I am learning to trust in His love for me in each new season, trial and reward. There, you cannot fail. Be encouraged, friends. He is the champion who finished the race.
HE WON! And He stands there, cheering us on, waiting for us to cross that finish line. Finish well, Beloved.