short thought // long marathon

marathon-runners-580x387

Hebrews 12:1

“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Joshua 1:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

***

I’ve heard it said that the Christian journey is similar to a marathon. The older I become, the more I accept this as a very accurate analogy. You begin excited and ready to implement your training. It’s new and (of course) difficult but your ambitious. Halfway in (mile 12 or so), you feel fatigue but find encouragement from small truth-tellers (those handing out water and oranges). Enough to sustain you. You catch second-winds occasionally and are motivated by others at the same pace.

However, you inevitably approach the dreaded “wall” around mile 20. Your legs cramp; you can’t do it. You’re weary and exhaustion has taken over, and while the end is somewhat in site, you have much farther to go – over six miles to be exact.

I’ve begun to realize that while I’m not at the end of my life (Lord willing) I’m no longer at the beginning of my Christian journey, either – wearing rose-colored glasses and being able to find strength through self-help evangelical jargon or sermon podcasts has come to an end.

I’m nearer to mile 20. I’m tired and exhausted and also more experienced and wise than when I began. I have miles to go before I’m complete but I can also see the finish line – where I end, desiring to devote my life to thoughtfulness, faithfulness and courage in the service of the Lord and His Kingdom. Mile 20 can be gruesome – marked with pain and suffering and truth that you had willingly set aside during the earlier miles.

But! Mile 20 is also a sanctifying marker in the race. You are ready for what is coming. You possess abounding faith. You laugh at the days to come because you have been there and you know who owns the clock.

A marathon is a good analogy for the journey which all Christ-believers find themselves on. May we run with diligence, perseverance and undaunted joy.

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