Good Friday Morning,
Last message I wrote was the New Year message about persevering and finishing the race, but let’s be honest there are times when your life feels cold and frozen or you’re unable to see past the fog just like in today’s picture. Just like Midwest weather has shown us this week, from frozen waters earlier in the week to 60 degree temps to now ice and snow, our lives go through lots of twists and turns, highs and lows, but through it all the Lord is with us.
Back to the marathon analogy I used in my last writing. I’ve heard this story on the radio twice this week so I think it’s worth mentioning. There was a Tanzanian marathon runner in the Olympics at Mexico City back in 1968 that finished an hour after most runners had already finished due to muscle cramping and a fall that injured his knee and shoulder. The crowd was already celebrating at the medal ceremony. When asked by an interviewer why he continued running he said, “my country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”
Here was a runner that stuck it out even when things got tough, even when he knew he wasn’t going to win or even come close to winning. Now that is perseverance; that is dedication and loyalty to one’s country and its people. When things get tough in your life, do you persevere and stay loyal to your citizenship in Heaven?
If I’m honest with you, when I encounter stress and difficult times, sometimes I don’t even like myself which means others probably aren’t fond of me either. At times, I fall down and get stuck and wallow in despair, rather than picking myself up, continuing to run no matter how slow or hobbled, and growing stronger from the experience. As I learn more about myself and Jesus though and surround myself with that great cloud of witnesses mentioned in the New Year message, I’m finally resting in the truth that life isn’t always going to be easy and recognizing and not running from my weakness is actually a sign of strength and surrender to the Lord. Jesus said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9).
Even though you may encounter some bumps and bruises through some painful experiences of life along the way, God’s Word promises “that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). So yes, we will have times where we feel like we’ve messed up and missed the mark, but our God transcends all that and uses those times to perfect us, which do not look anything like the world’s standards of perfection.
A perfect song to go with this message of being stuck is Danny Gokey’s “Rise”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eUGUC4Ko30
Father God, Your Word is holy and true and Your presence is always with us. We can be sure that when we are weak, you are strong in us if only we will surrender control. Please forgive us when we struggle to give you control and miss what you are trying to teach us in the process. May your Holy Spirit lead us through our weaknesses and draw us closer to You. Thank you Father for always being with us, especially during our difficult times. Help us to be consistent and continue to run to you daily even when we don’t feel like running. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rise and Shine,