The Lord says, "I go before you. I have trampled the boulders of the enemy. I have cleared the path of adversity. If you remain in my shadow I will make your race to the finish smoother than it may have begun. I see the end from the beginning . . . you win!"
". . . the race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong . . . but time and chance happen to all."(Ecclesiastes 9:11)
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it." (1 Cor. 9:24)
" . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1b)
I never liked running. I could dance the night away, sometimes for 6-8 hours when I was young and in the club scene. But I could barely run a mile when the school required it. I struggled to reach the finish line. But in seminary we were required to pass a 3-mile run each semester in order to graduate. Just a little before one semester left until graduation, I had injured my foot and was on crutches. The school did not really accept excuses. I had to speak with the chairman to be allowed to continue my education and finish my degree. I had spent 2 1/2 years in seminary and I was not going to stop now. I was determined to finish.
Once my foot healed I was required to make up for the semester I missed, the PE class I had not completed due to the injury, and the current semester. I had to run 3 3-miles and I had only two weeks to get them completed! That was a lot for someone who never liked to run. But run I did. Graduating seminary was my motivation. I wasn't fast, I wasn't strong, but this was opportunity and chance. I had a goal and I endured to the end.
How are you running the race of life? Do you complain about injury? Does the distance seem too far? Do you feel unprepared?
The race of life is not based on speed or strength. It's about opportunity and endurance. All of us may start the race the same, but how are we going to finish? No matter the odds, it's up to us.
Edgar A. Guest wrote a poem that hangs in a frame on my wall. I see it when I rise and when I go to bed. I pray it encourages you today to live the rest of your life focused on finishing!
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to smile but have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you 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 if he'd stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You might succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
it seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
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 mustn't quit.