Here we are on the final leg of this journey. I know it's been some time since I finished this 5k but it feels like yesterday. The pain is still fresh in my mind :) If you remember I started unprepared for what I was to encounter. From there, I prayed my way through the first leg of the race, learning to raise my arms (in submission) to catch some much needed air. The second mile was one of decision, focusing on where my feet where at the time, not what lay ahead. It was here that I learned to stop looking around at others and ran this race for God all by myself. And here we are at the end of the journey.
I crossed over my last street and saw the end in sight. The stadium that would be the final portion of the race seemed huge at the time. I began to run along the outside following the sidewalk. I was completely unsure how to enter the stadium so I kept running up each entrance to see if that were the way, only to find the gate to be locked. Until finally I saw a guide showing me where to go.
Entering the stadium was incomprehensible. On one hand I was so tired I could fall over and lay there for a week, yet on the other, I was so empowered to have run so far already, that I couldn't stop or slow down. I knew I needed to run across the finish line. About fifty feet from the line, I began to have so much emotion well up inside of me that I didn't know wether to laugh, cry, or throw up (which really was an option :) So I just ran until I finished.
Our Christian journey is so similar. I don't think we will ever get it down this side of heaven. It is so important to have other Christians around to help you, to guide you if you get off course. At the same time we need to run, to pursue greatness in God. We need to stand firm when the other, easier roads look tempting. We need to keep going, even if we are tired, hurting, or just ready to fall over and give up. We need to keep pursuing greatness because God has some prizes for us in the end.
After the runners all finished, and I caught my breath, there was an award ceremony. Within that tent, there were tables of fruit and water waiting to replenish what we had lost. That was so refreshing, I don't think and orange has ever tasted so good as it did at that moment. As I sat there eating the fruit, I couldn't help but think of the corilation between this race and the race toward righteousness once again. You see as we pursue Christ, God has many jobs or opportunities for us to be refined. With work comes reward. Like the reward of fruit and water at the end of this daunting race, so is the outcome of these trials we must face in life.
Think about it, if you are dealing with a person in your life who seems to get on your last nerve, when you pursue Christlikeness and pray through that frustration, God will give you the fruit of patience. When you have a friend that you just can't forgive, yet you choose love and forgiveness, because it is written that without love you have nothing and without forgiveness, you will not be forgiven. God does not intend for us to be hurt by our trials, they are used to build us or to grow our faith. He does have plans for us (Jer 29:11) These trials help us to grow mature and to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. Let's pray:
"Dear Lord, I thank You for this series. I thank You for the 5k and what it meant in my life. I thank You Father, for allowing me to share this journey with others. It is so nice to have others with us in our struggles that can encourage us and lead us to that fruit. I pray Father that You will use this race to help others run theirs. I pray that the finish line looks closer to some. I pray that those who read this will be encouraged and ready to run a little longer. Thank You for having plans for us. Thank You Father for loving us enough to not leave us where we are. I pray this in the mighty name of Jesus who is the Living Water...Amen"