living braver

one faith step at a time…


2 Comments

Coming In Last…

race track1     I’ve never been in an actual race – I know some of you probably have: marathon, 5K, bike race, car race – my daughter swam competitively. Whether we’ve actually been in a physical contest or not, we often feel like we’re coming in last…

There was a news story recently about a young woman running a race, in fact, leading most of the way. Suddenly her body could take no more, down she went on her knees. She was so focused and the finish line so near, that wobbly as she was, she began to crawl. Giving all she had left in her, other runners passing her by, she crawled over that finish line and collapsed. The point: she didn’t give up, she finished.

Walking with God here in this life is often referred to as a race in the Bible. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, when he was nearing the end of his life said:  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2Timothy 4:7 NIV) He knew that when he finished was not important, that he finished was the goal.

finish line with feet1

Our lives today can seem like a chaotic race that never ends, or if it does we feel beaten up, like we came in last. But Paul went on to tell Timothy “And now the prize awaits me,” Paul knew his ‘race’ was not for human reward or to show what a great athlete for God he had been. The reward he looked forward to was eternal “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on the day of His return.” And now for the really good news: “And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing.” (2Timothy 4:8 NLT underline mine)

I cannot ignore the day to day race of life but I can choose to run in a way that testifies to the One who makes the race worth it. The writer of Hebrews gave us some great advice: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV underline mine)

Like the woman whose body just about gave out, but looked to the goal and finished, we must fix our eyes on Jesus – our goal – and with His strength, not ours, finish the race – for eternity is much longer than our brief race here on earth…

prize ribbon1

 


Leave a comment

October 9, 2014 V does not stand for Vulnerable

Vulnerable     “Our fear of becoming desperate – of being exposed as that vulnerable, bruised reed – is what hinders us from playing a part in what God wants to do.” Ruth Graham      During those times when our ‘what ifs’ are now reality and fear has us captive we often feel vulnerable. Like any moment we will be swallowed up never to surface again…

My daughter spent many years on swim team, from the time she was eight til she was eighteen. She participated in Junior Olympics year after year. She was a distance swimmer – in one competition this meant swimming your best (i.e.: fastest) for two miles. It wasn’t until the starting bell went off that I understood what she was undertaking. No cramps please, no exhaustion please. During conversation once we were all talking about the worst way to die (very uplifting, right). This girl stunned us all when she said her biggest fear would be drowning. So if an athlete who can race two miles feels vulnerable to drowning, where does that leave us?

Long before the heartbreaks, the dreaded outcomes, the inevitables happen we need to practice braver. It is through practice that we are prepared so that though we may be treading water, we are not sinking. Habits of prayer, of seeking God in His Word, of having others praying for you need to be established. We cannot be courageous on our own – yet we have One who will be our courage…

Because with God V stands for Victory: “…He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 15:57NIV)