I did a lot of reading this last Sunday. I am referring to the numerous t-shirts and posters found all throughout the course of the Army Ten Miler. Here are some of my favorites: “If found on ground, please drag across finish line”, “I know I’m slow, deal with it or pass me!”, and “Please God, let there be someone behind me to read this.” (I like to think I was this person’s answer to prayer since indeed I stayed behind them to read it for the rest of the run.) Without question, the words with the greatest impact on my race were on a poster held up by an encouraging spectator around mile five. “If you made it to the starting line, you can make it to the finish line!”
By mile 5 I felt like I was done. The idea that I was only half way through was more discouraging than encouraging. The poster’s words reminded me that I had already done the hardest part; I got to the starting line. Even though I am pretty certain the point could easily be argued, by mile 6 I had already considered numerous viable ways I could not make it to the finish line, I did find myself once again encouraged.
For the remainder of the run I was suspicious that someone had moved the finish line. Shouts of “You’re almost there!”, seemd like either gross miscalculations or taunting on the part of well-intentioned spectators. I kept thinking of that poster, “If you made it to the starting line, you can make it to the finish line!” I would never have imagined I’d be at any starting line this time last year, yet here I was, on my way to an elusive finishing line. I thought about how this same idea could also be helpful in my life beyond this event.
Satan has quite an arsenal of techniques to discourage or derail our daily endeavors. We can get so overwhelmed by the goals, tasks or responsibilities placed before us that we do not move forward. The reality is that God has planned our journey. Some races are long and trying, full of hills and rough terrain. Some journeys are like sprints, requiring seasons of focus and energy followed by seasons of quiet and recovery. Sometimes life moves at an agonizingly slow pace, fueling frustration, and challenging our patience. Nevertheless, no matter what is before us, God has brought us to the starting line. We have no reason to doubt that our God will also bring us to the finish line. It is God after all who has determined the location of the finish line. He will give us the strength, energy, and stamina to finish what He has set before us.
“…The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power….those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings of eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31