It was the last day of practice before the coach assigned positions. Sam was trying out to be a tight end and he had to show the coaches that he could go the distance. Sam had always been a sprinter on the track team, used to short bursts of great speed. But this position required a lot more of him physically. He had to show that he could go long distances, even from one end of the field to the other, without tiring. Sam had spent many evenings after practice, running the hills and valleys of his subdivision. He trained hard, ate right and got lots of rest.
His best friend, Collin, was also trying out for the tight end position. Sam had often asked Collin to join him in training but he always had better things to do. Collin wasn’t too worried. He had run distances last spring for track and even though he might be a little out of shape, he figured he was good enough for the position.
That day both boys, along with several others, lined up at the end of the field. When the coach gave the signal, they all sprinted downfield. Collin quickly pulled ahead of the others, running all out for the goal. But about midway through, he began to tire, and the rest of the pack caught up with him. When the run was over, Sam had come in first, followed closely by several others who Sam had seen running after school like him. Four boys were picked for the tight end position and Collin was still breathing hard.
“Boy,” Collin wheezed, “I sure wasn’t prepared for that.” Sam slapped him on the back and told him he would make a great line backer this year.
Sam knew that the reason he had won the position he wanted was because he was prepared. He trained and took care of himself and kept at it, no matter how hard it got. He won that position because he was fit.
It was the same perseverance he had learned from his mom as they ran the race for a restored family. Like Collin, they had started out fast, running all out. Pretty soon they found themselves tired and discouraged as circumstances never seemed to improve and even got a little worse. About halfway into it, they were all tired and worn out and didn’t think they could make it to the other end.
But one night the Lord shared a special message with Mom. He told her they didn’t have to do this on their own, that He was ready to step in and carry them the rest of the way. They just needed to keep praying, keep believing, keep trusting and keep persevering. Sometimes restoration takes a while, but that doesn’t mean the Lord isn’t still working.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
So right then and there, about halfway through the journey, Sam’s family offered the race to God. They let Him take control of their lives and of their dad’s life. They continued to pray for the Lord to touch and change Dad, bring him home to Him and to their family. They continued to be spiritually fit. But now that they knew they had the Lord alongside them, the race wasn’t quite as hard. They knew in their hearts that God was at work even when they couldn’t see anything happening. They knew that they would be able to go the distance, no matter how long it took.
The journey had been long and the end had not yet come. But Sam’s family had run it in peace, trusting in the Lord for the strength they needed. Now they could see that the goal was in sight. The Lord had worked mightily in their lives and in their dad’s life, turning things around for good. Just a few more steps and another family would be rebuilding on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. They had gone the distance.
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26a (NLT)
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
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Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.