Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. -Hebrews 12:1
Have you ever run a race? Have you ever won a medal or trophy for running a race? Hearing the crowd shout words of encouragement is a great adrenaline booster. An even bigger boost when you cross the finish line. But what if you cross the finish line not as you envisioned?
In the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain, Derek Redmond, the 400-meter record holder from Britain, was about to run the race of his life. He approached the starting line with dreams of winning the gold medal and never knew the unthinkable was going to happen.
On your mark! Get set! Go!
He was off to a good start. Everything seemed fine until it wasn’t. He could see the finish line within reach and suddenly he felt a snap in the back of his leg and fell to the ground in pain, realizing his dream was over.
Most of us would have given up at this point, thrown in the towel and admitted defeat. But not Derek.
Seeing his son in excruciating pain, Jim Redmond ran to his side. “…You don’t have to do this.” “Yes, I do,” said Derek. “Well, then,” said his father, “we’re going to finish this together.”
Derek Redmond didn’t win the gold medal that day, but he walked away with so much more. He walked away with an unforgettable memory of a loving father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.
The Bible teaches us that life is like a race.
John 16:33 states:“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We will struggle and face many hurdles in our lifetime, but isn’t it reassuring to know that God has gone before us and He has seen those obstacles and has given us what we need to cross the finish line? If we keep our eyes on Him, the victory is ours.
How do we focus our sights on Jesus? The opening verse gives us a clear answer. We need to get rid of those things in our life that bring us down. Sin gets in our way and distracts us from worshipping our Heavenly Father.
What is keeping you from worshipping God? My distraction is social media. Right before bed, I surf the sites, looking at headlines that capture my attention. And before you know it, one story turns into too many stories and I’ve spent an hour or more on my phone. That is an hour that I could be spending with the one person who wants a relationship with me. The one person who wants to know how my day went, who wants to hear my struggles and my thoughts. But instead, I look elsewhere for something only God can give me.
Just like athletes push themselves by focusing on what’s ahead, we should rely on Jesus when we become entangled in the hurdles of life.
Don’t give up! The race is won and victory is ours!
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Recently diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Tonya Masoner continues to write for BoP when she is able. She doesn’t ask “Why me Lord?” She embraces the journey God has set forth for her. The battle has already been won. God has walked before her and now He leads her to victory. Her Breath on Paper bio can be found here.