“But I don't place any value on my life, if only I can finish my race and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus of testifying to the gospel of God's grace” (Acts 20:24 ISV).
Used by permission of the author Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg.
By Dr. D.H. (Dee) Groberg
"Quit! Give Up! You're beaten!"
They shout at me and plead.
"There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed."
And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene;
For just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.
A children's race--young boys, young men--
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure! But also fear;
It wasn't hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race.
Or tie for first, or if not that, At
least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire.
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boy's desire.
And one boy in particular
Whose dad was in the crowd
Was running near the lead and thought:
"My did will be so proud!"
But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope
--He couldn't win it now--
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished
To disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said,
"Get up and win the race."
He quickly rose, no damage done,
--Behind a bit, that's all--
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself
--To catch up and to win--
His mind went faster than his legs:
He slipped and fell again!
He wished then he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
"I'm hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn't try to race."
But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father's face;
That steady look which said again:
"Get up and win the race!"
So up he jumped to try again
--Ten yards behind the last--
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought,
"I've got to move real fast."
Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again'
Defeat! He lied there silently
--A tear dropped from his eye-- "There's no sense running anymore;
Three strikes: I'm out! Why try!"
The will to rise had disappeared;
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone;
A loser all the way.
"I've lost, so what's the use," he thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad
Who soon he'd have to face.
"Get up," an echo sounded low.
"Get up and take your place;
You were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race."
"With borrowed will get up," it said, "You haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this:
To rise each time you fall."
So up he rose to run once more,
And with a new commit
He resolved that win or lose
At least he wouldn't quit.
So far behind the others now,
--The most he'd ever been--
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.
Three times he'd fallen, stumbling;
Three times he rose again;
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place. Head high, and proud, and happy;
No falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer, For finishing the race.
And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race To listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said,
"I didn't do too well."
"To me, you won," his father said.
"You rose each time you fell."
And now when things seem dark and hard
And difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy
Helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, With ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win,
Is rise each time you fall.
"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!"
They still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says:
"GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!"
I have been thinking about this book for a long time. Lord only knows, but it may be the last of a series of three about my life written to encourage you in your life.
is about the battle I faced deciding if I would follow God or my fleshly desires. Once I decide to follow God, it shares how God pulled me out of darkness and gave me the grace to defeat it and follow Him.
I share my life through these three books to encourage us all. God created each of our lives out of love, with purpose and design. He expects us to fulfill the purpose for which He created us. And more than that, He empowers us to live and complete faithfully and successfully our purpose: our life, our race.
Even though our lives are mixed with battles resulting in defeats and victories, failures and successes, God is with us and will see us through.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippines 3:12-13 NLT).
The Apostle Paul writes this to encourage the Philippian church and us. His life was mixed with failure and success. And now, toward the end of his ministry, he encourages us by declaring about his own struggle: “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Jesus Christ is not only calling Paul but us to finish the race. As with Paul’s life, and all our lives, my life has been marked with moderate and severe struggles. It has also seen minor victories mixed with defeats. All of these, including the major victories in the Lord, are life defining, meaning a life defined by victories, giving glory to God. The victories were not in my power or strength, but could only come through grace provided by my Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
"To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary”
(Isaiah 40:25-31 NASB).
When we wait for the Lord or walk with the Lord in our life, He gives us the strength to fly like eagles: His eagles. We walk and run our lives in His power. Our way and our path are not hidden from Him, but lived, because He is our God, in victory to the end of our life. We run the race set before us.