“…The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:13-14 (New International Version)
by J. Vetter, Guest Contributor
Perhaps that’s where I first went wrong–believing walking with the Lord was just that–only a walk. Lately, it seems like the speed has increased, and I have to run to keep up! There have been a few times I’ve “hit the wall” too. So I searched out what it means to run a marathon.
First, you need to train–not just any way you want to, but by listening to experts and following a schedule. Then, you need to eat the correct foods, drink appropriately, and learn to pace yourself.
But the most important thing is realizing you will “hit the wall” sometime during your race; and that doesn’t mean it’s over. It means if you keep on going, you will make it! Others go through this and still finish the race.
Legend has it that marathons got their beginning when a Greek messenger was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens, announcing that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. He ran the entire distance without stopping, and then burst into the assembly exclaiming, “We have won!” before collapsing and dying.
We, too, have a message–that we have won–and to proclaim it fully, we have to die to only focusing on ourselves or the problem or, better put, the magnitude of our race.
One of the walls we hit in our Christian race is discouragement. There are times when we feel nothing is changing and our prayers are not being answered. Perhaps an affliction increases its grip with a fury that cries “unfair.”
We may think our race is just our own, but the Christian race is also a team effort. We’ve got to take a drink from that brother or sister on the sidelines. We’ve got to cheer and encourage others in their race and be able to accept words of encouragement from others along the road. One of the interesting aspects of participating in a marathon is that few people enter expecting to win. Their goal is to finish.
Another wall is believing the lie that we really can’t make it. I listened carefully to the interview with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger as he described what he felt when he realized his plane was about to crash land in the Hudson River (January, 2009). His initial reaction was that he couldn’t believe this was happening to him. However, on the heels of that thought, he also proclaimed, “I was sure I could do it.” He was a man confident of his training and his experience. Because he was at the helm, 155 people survived that day. Incidentally, he also gave credit to the crew, passengers, and the first responders by sharing his belief that the miraculous outcome was a team effort.
Another stumbling stone is fear. Perhaps the fear of making a mistake. I believe a person who is afraid of making another mistake won’t make any significant steps further in his race. That’s why we are told in scripture to forget the past. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (New King James Version)
Sometimes during our struggles, we forget the message of Hebrews 12:2-4, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because he never lost sight of where He was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourself flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Message Bible)