Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Achievement (03/08/12)
TITLE: The Height of Dreams
By Glynis Becker
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Two miles back, she was sure she'd never make it one more step. At the point of fighting the sea of other runners to hit the sidelines and stay, she had instead prayed for strength. Leah pushed through the pain, pushed through the fatigue and God had rewarded her perseverance with a renewal, a reminder that she really could do all things.
No wonder Paul used a race as an analogy for our faith, she thought. So often, I have to make myself believe, even when I'm not sure I want to. I have to make myself do the right thing, the good thing, even when it's hard. I always imagine Paul as a scholar, but maybe he took an occasional run, too. Leah smiled, imagining him hiking up a woolen robe and running in sandals. Once again, she was thankful for living in the twenty-first century, appreciating the man-made fibers in her clothes that kept her dry and comfortable, the technology in her running shoes to account for her particular stride and the gadget strapped to her arm that kept track of everything from distance and speed to calories and heart rate.
The sunshine on her face was a welcome friend. She was certainly not alone in this race, but the Spirit was so much closer to her than the stranger sweating four feet away. The sun was God smiling on her. The warm breath of wind was Jesus singing over her, because He knew that this run was more than she ever imagined she could do. Yet now that she had hit her stride, she was sure she could run right up to heaven's gate itself, and breathlessly fall into His arms.
With only a half-mile left, Leah realized that this time she had spent with her thoughts and God was the most true worship she had ever experienced in her life. No interruptions, just Leah, the sunshine and Jesus. Well, okay, there were aching muscles, too, but the exhaustion would be a welcome reminder of the beauty and transcendence of this moment.
She could see the finish line now. What had been a concept just yards ago, became a happy reality as she crossed the thick white line, arms raised in praise of God and her own amazing achievement.
"Leah." A soft voice exhaled the name near to Leah's ear, gently awakening her. "Honey, it's time to go to therapy." Leah's mother gave her a tender smile and brushed a stray lock of hair off of her forehead. "Can you get there by yourself?"
Leah nodded silently. She gripped the wheels of her chair in her hands and began the slow, painful roll down the sterile hallway. The distance was not the half-marathon she dreamed of, but it was still a worthy goal. The cold, white walls were not sunshine, but God continued to smile. No breeze moved through the stuffy recirculated air, but she knew in her heart that Jesus still sang for her. Because this was not the end of her race, but the beginning.
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