Are We at the Finish Line Yet?
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”1
A friend of Joy’s was running in a marathon who, when about half-way through the race, was asked by an exhausted fellow marathoner, who was gasping for breath, “Are we there yet? I’m done!”
I’ve never run in a marathon, but in younger days I used to enjoy hiking on foot on mountain trails. The longest hike was a day-long 32 mile round trip. My legs ached; my feet hurt, and I kept asking myself, “How much further do I have to go?”
I also rode a mountain bike for many years and know what it is like to be exhausted long before the finishing point. Yes, I’d stop and rest, but found that, like many a runner, if I just kept hanging in and plugging away, eventually I got what the runners call “a second breath,” and was able to make it to the end, that, on my mountain bike was usually home.
Sometimes life can be like that. I’ve been there. You are so emotionally exhausted and physically weary, you feel like giving up. If you are there now, or should the time ever come, remember the words of John Greenleaf Whittier:
Most important of all, when it comes to winning over life’s tough trials, the key to triumph is to trust your circumstances and your life implicitly to God. Suggested by a minister friend, I started making this commitment in my youth and have renewed it in prayer every morning. Some six decades later as I look back over the ups and downs of life—the good times and the bad, the successes and failures—I can confidently say that by the grace of God, I have triumphed only because God has led me every step of the way, and for this I will be eternally grateful.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
For all the sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
I strongly encourage you, Dear Reader, to also make the following prayer commitment every morning for the rest of your life:
“Dear God, afresh today I commit and trust my life and way to You. Please help me to become the man/woman of God that You envision for me to become. Please be with me in everything I do. Greatly expand my Christian borders, and keep me from all evil, harm and disaster. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen.”
1. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV).