Corona Chronicles-True Confessions#72

They moved the finish line again.  (if there even is a finish line)  Actually, the finish line has been moved so many times already that I have lost count.  And I confess – I am weary of this never ending race, this race without a finish line, or at least a finish line in sight, this race that I never signed up for, this race that I find myself in nonetheless, this race against COVID-19, this race that is my life, this race we all call life.

Or maybe I’ve always been in the race but the mile markers were predictable and the course was fairly level and safe and the scenery even enjoyable at times, until now.  But now I’ve hit a rough patch unlike any I’ve experienced before.  This part of the course is difficult.  It is dark and it is dangerous and it is steep and it is rocky and I cannot find my footing.  I cannot see my way forward.

No wonder I am weary.  The race has gotten rougher, the terrain tougher, the incline increased and no end or respite on the horizon.  How do I continue this race under these conditions when I really want to quit?  Hebrews 12:1-3 has some good advice to encourage me in running this earthly race,

“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.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

So lots of good suggestions there.  First, throw off whatever is weighing me down.  I am to travel light.  Then I am told to persevere, to keep running.  Now that’s easier said than done.  But next comes something key, something that will enable me to persevere.  I’m told where to fix my eyes.

In other words, where I am looking, to what or to whom, makes all the difference in how I run this race.  My feet will follow where my vision leads.  Wherever my faith fixes my gaze, that will determine my destination.  I am told to “fix my eyes on Jesus”.  Arriving at the place that He is preparing for me even now becomes my finish line.  And that’s a finish line that no one can move or take away from me.

If I am to run this race well, it is essential that I keep my eyes fixed on the One who is my Savior, Redeemer and Friend.  If I don’t, like Peter walking toward Jesus on the rough waters of the Galilean Sea, I will stumble and fall, just as Peter began to sink into the sea when he took his eyes off of Jesus.

Fortunately for me, when I do fall, as I so often do, Jesus is the “lifter of my head.” He helps me to refocus my vision on Him and enables me to persevere in the race He has marked out for me.  “But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”  (Psalm 3:3)

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.”   (Habakkuk 3:19)

As I am currently on steep, rocky terrain on this leg of the race, those words from Habakkuk are just what I need to hear and remember when I feel overcome with weariness.  I also take encouragement from Paul’s words in Philippians 3:12-14,

“Not that I have already obtained all this, (or have finished the race) or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

So there it is, words of wisdom from the coach to the runner.  “Forget what is behind”, leave the past in the past, don’t look back (every runner and swimmer knows looking back slows you down) but facing forward, “press on toward the goal”, until I cross that finish line (which is not even in sight right now) and win the prize God is keeping secure for me until that day when by faith and perseverance I do arrive at that finish line.

As I walk weary today, these words comfort, encourage and sustain me as I continue on the path God continually prepares before me,

“The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Because of my Heavenly Father’s all sufficient grace – I will renew my strength, I will walk, I will run, I will soar – I will one day cross the finish line – I will finish this race victorious.

sincerely,        Grace Day

 

 

 

 

 

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