Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.
When I ran the Disney Princess, the 13 mile marker was a welcome sight. However, the finish line was still around a corner. Even knowing how close I was to the finish, I couldn’t see the end point. But the knowledge that the end was near gave me the strength to run those last few steps.
Since that time I haven’t run much. I have used every excuse in the book, but the truth is, running is hard for me. It’s never gotten easier, and now the Florida heat and humidity will not be ignored. Still, I have a race in the fall, and a body that needs exercise, so I reluctantly went out last night. Without much thought I began running my 6 mile course -not sure why, as I have only run 6 miles twice since February. But I had my music, and I started down the road, and I wasn’t thinking too much about the journey I was embarking on.
It was 80 degrees at 9pm. There was 85% humidity. This was not a cool evening run. However, I got through the first 4 miles pretty easily. I have a lot going on, a lot to distract me. Those thoughts kept me busy and kept me from thinking about the heat and the distance. Around 4 miles I became aware that I had likely bitten off more than I could handle.
The course I marked out so many months ago is 5.4 miles to the front of my neighborhood, then an additional .6 mile loop to bring me to my house. As I crossed that point, I was aware I could cut off the last .6 miles and go home. I was drenched with sweat, I was tired. But something rose up in me and said
“You’ve made it this far. In 5 minutes this will be over. Finish the course”.
Before I knew it, I had run the full 6 miles and was home.
Just over 8 years ago, I lost my corporate job. At first, it was not so bad, I worked part time jobs while I looked for other work. I had some savings, and was enjoying downtime at the beach. I had many thoughts to distract me, and I didn’t worry too much. But after 18 months of not finding “the ” job, and watching the economic situation begin to fall off, I started to get a suspicious feeling that perhaps I was in over my head. I got sick just before my COBRA ran out, and so was denied health insurance for the next several years. My savings depleted rapidly, and there was no income to back it up.
I was battling alcohol, and alcohol was winning. I was lonely and depressed, raising 2 kids with no support and a meager income. The heat was on, and I was tired. It was then that I asked Jesus to help me, and He has been with me since. But He has not allowed me to stop running.
The last few miles, er, years, have been tough. I am tired, and honestly I cannot see the finish line. I have a real sense that it is close, but it is around a corner He has not yet revealed. This week, I truly felt ready to give up. Not because I didnt believe the finish line was there – but because I couldn’t see the finish, and I no longer felt the strength to get there. And then Jesus said,
“You’ve made it this far. Soon this will be over. Finish the course”.
As I ran up to my front door last night, I was filled with gratitude for the will to persevere and finish. There WAS an end to that run, and I made it. Once it was over, it was totally worth the discomfort.
I am convinced that my personal finish line, at least for this race which I began 8 years ago, is just around a blind corner. Jesus is telling me that I need to just trust Him, and keep going. It’s almost here. So I will just keep running until I get home, even through heat and exhaustion, knowing the finish line is there.
Just a few more steps.