God Sent Us To Finish This
God did not send us here just to start the race. He sent us here to finish it.
Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, which Vonette and I attended, John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania started the Olympic marathon with all the other runners but finished it alone and in last place.
Several miles into the race, Akhwari suddenly found himself trapped in the middle of some other runners. Unable to see well, he fell and hurt his leg horribly. He now knew he could not win a medal, but with great courage, he continued.
Long after the winners had finished and received their praise, this final runner entered the stadium. Sirens blared as this lone, weary and injured man entered. Only a few hundred spectators were left but as they realized this was a runner who was finishing long after all the others, they began to applaud, quietly at first, but it grew into a crescendo of applause. He took his lap around the track with his bandaged and bloody feet.
Though suffering from injury, fatigue, leg cramps, dehydration, and disorientation, Akhwari finally crossed the finish line.
When asked by a reporter why he did not just quit he answered, "My country did not send me to Mexico City to start the race. They sent me here to finish."
Have you ever watched a marathon race? The grueling 26.2-mile run is perhaps the most challenging of all track and field events. Elite runners will usually finish a marathon in just over two hours, while other runners may take up to five hours to finish the course. And in almost every marathon, there are runners who must drop out -- they cannot finish because their energy reserves are depleted.
The Bible compares the Christian life to a race. The apostle Paul said, "If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me -- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24, NIV).
To Timothy, Paul wrote: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (1 Timothy 4:7, NIV).
Hebrews 12:1 says, "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" (NIV).
Like John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania, we may encounter many obstacles that can hinder us from even continuing the race, but like him, and Paul, let us continue to the finish line, before that great cloud of spectators. And let us "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
God did not send us here just to start the race. He sent us here to finish.
Copyright (c) 2003, Bright Media Foundation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Global Media Outreach from Bright Media Foundation. This devotional was first published at Crosswalk.com on May 11, 2020.
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has staff in 196 countries.
Pray this week:
Lord, help me run this race with endurance. I am fixing my eyes on you, the author and perfecter of my faith.
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