Could it be I¡¯m going to make it?
Could it be I¡¯ll make the time?
Could it be I¡¯ll run fast enough
To make the time of minutes, nine?
I am running out of breath.
If I make it I¡¯ll see the glory
Shimmering down on me.
Such were my sentiments surrounding our junior high nine-minute mile runs, all those years ago. They were held every Friday morning, without fail.
How many times in my life have I been as I was during those treks around the track, laboring to suck in air, aching in every muscle, exhausted, and at times, bedridden with a resulting respiratory infection?
More times than I can count, and this is to be expected. As humans, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle, and life can hit pretty hard at times.
Paul had a reason for encouraging us to run with endurance. This race isn¡¯t easy, and there is a lot to be endured. Every runner can count on that.
If we have to endure the agony, how can we do so victoriously?
First, let¡¯s learn to practice the presence of Jesus. From this we can grow to understand that Jesus is bigger than any burden, sweeter than any bitterness, more soothing than any pain.
Chinese Brother Yun (The Heavenly Man, by Paul Hattaway) gives us the best example of this I know. He said, ¡°Don¡¯t feel sorry for us in China because we are persecuted. We feel sorry for the Western Church that doesn¡¯t know the presence of Jesus.¡±
We, too, can learn to practice the presence of Jesus, when we immerse ourselves in
Scripture, pray about everything, become deeply involved with God¡¯s people, and
reach out to others.
Next, we can watch for the ways God demonstrates His love and care for us during particularly difficult in our lives times, and then boast in the Lord!
We were understandably excited to welcome our third son, Benjamin, into our family, but we were also feeling pretty homesick, being so far away from home. But we asked God to show us His love and care during that time.
And boy, did He ever!! The midwife at the hospital who gave Ben his first bath was
one of the mothers from our school. Our school secretary called the hospital to see
how the birth was progressing twenty minutes after our bundle of joy entered the world! She sent my close friend to tell our older sons that their new little brother was here, and she was able to witness the sheer joy on their faces. Another close friend came from out of town to stay with us and help out for our first week out of the hospital.
Experiencing God¡¯s love, care, and nurture can strengthen our hearts and our resolve to stay in the race.
Finally, the fun part. We need to squeeze all the joy out of life that we can. We can do this if we seek time to enjoy relationships, find simple humor in every-day situations, learn to laugh at ourselves, and share our laughter with others.
Barbara Johnson¡¯s books are full of funnies she tells on herself. One evening during a particularly dark time in my life, I was reading one of her books on the way to church. I got a big chuckle over a story she related, when she had to wear wet panty hose on a plane in order to catch a last-minute flight!
But it turned out that the joke was actually on me!! That night, I was to play my flute
in the service. Just before I was to play, I contracted the hiccups. Try as I might, I
couldn¡¯t get rid of them!
I hoped that the extra oxygen I would be inhaling as I played would do the trick. WRONG!! It soon became evident that it was making the hiccups bigger, not smaller!! I started to imagine that I looked drunk, with the big HIC¡¯s interspersed among the melody. I felt so silly that I started to giggle, right up there on the platform. Thankfully the church saw the humor, too.
So in short, yes, we have a long race to run. But we have the promise of victory at the end (what other runner can say that?) and plenty of geraniums along the way! So let¡¯s run with endurance as we cheer each other on¡¦¡¦¡¦..
And I¡¯ll see ya at the finish line!!