Pain and heartache — it’s everywhere. Yesterday was one of those days that smacked me up side the head and reminded me that this world has very little to offer. Very little. Three catastrophes of life-rattling proportions have changed my world a little…and completely flipped the world of others into chaos and questions. We do indeed live in a broken world. Without a doubt, the battle is on!
There’s an old gospel hymn that comes to mind. In fact, two days ago, Susan and I were driving somewhere and ending up spontaneously singing this little ditty. It sort of came out of nowhere, but we ended up singing it at the top of our voices and in beautiful harmony! You should have heard it…you would have been impressed.
This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My home is laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world any more.
I am comforted today knowing that this world of sin, brokenness, disappointment, loss, pain, and chaos is temporary.
More than ever, I want to live for what really matters.
I want to give my all for the Great Cause.
I want to spend my life and passions on Jesus.
I want to finish well.
I want to be counted faithful, not so much by the assessment of others around me, but by the God who has called me.
I want to bring some others with me too.
“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1b-3
Last night, as I was having some great conversation with my Army son, he was describing how difficult his last Physical Training Test was. As he was running the timed two-mile, he described how he wanted to quit, slow up, or take even a 30 second walk. He then realized that if he did, he would have arrive over the allowed time and would be required to go through the whole thing again next time. He dug deep to find a resource of strength that initially he didn’t know was there.
This is what he said, “Dad, I intentionally chose to focus on the results of my actions in order to find strength to persevere to the finish.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 state, ” Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The picture here is that of a race. It’s presenting us in the Arena of Life, the stands filled with the saints who have gone before us. They have been past runners in this strenuous contest and know what it takes to win. There they are, standing on their feet, voices straining, arms reaching, bodies tense, faces intense as they cheer us on in this race of life. With all of this attention, the challenge is to give it everything you’ve got! Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Don’t give only a portion of what you can. When you have delivered everything you think you’re able to give, dig deeper. Keep running that race with every ounce of determination and strength you can muster. The crowd is packed with great heroes cheering you on to victory.
Today again, God calls you to fix your eyes on Jesus standing at that finish line in order to do what is important, not what is easy.