“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT
I have been on a nine-month marathon with a loved one. I anticipated there’d be some struggles, maybe a sprain or strain along the way, but I never imagined it’d be so incredibly hard. Now that we are feet from the finish line, I’m thankful we didn’t know what the whole race looked like. God knows just how much He can show us at one time, no matter how much we think we need to see so much more.
After about the first mile, my loved one took a major tumble and I braced, encouraged, dragged them along, and finally carried them for much of the rest of the race. I’d love to say it was pretty, I didn’t sweat (or even swear) and the terrain was level, but none of those things were true. Looking back I’m sure there were some better choices that could’ve been made—perhaps we even entered the wrong marathon—but the Lord kept speaking to me, my loved one, and others that we needed to finish. But He also let us know we’re running a different race next year.
I was tempted to lie down and give up several times, but I knew if I did, my loved one might literally (not to be dramatic) lay down and die. There have been many others who’ve helped us, family and strangers who’ve taken turns to help carry them, medics at rest stops along the way providing vital medical aid and counsel.
Our biggest help has been from God, Who has been with us every step of the way. At times when we were crawling the marathon in the dark He lit the way as only He can, encouraging us there were things we needed to learn in the dark, things my loved one would look back on later and recognize as blessings—the blessings of knowing a Way when there is no way, a Light when there is none; Who the Light of the world is, Who to lean on, Who to believe in; how to have peace and not to fear because we know Who has overcome the world (John 16:33). He carried us and loved on us, whether we received His love or not. He pushed aside roadblocks and helped us out of major potholes we had fallen in as the enemy kept trying to stop us.
As the marathon finally ends next week, I’m grateful for the rest and the opportunity to train for the next one. I pray it’s not as difficult as this one has been. One thing I know is that the Lord will be with us like He was on this one, and just as He is in the marathons in all our lives.
“Father God, thank You for Your help in the marathons we run in life. We eagerly await the day when our reward is an eternity with You. Amen.”