A good start is critical to winning when running a sprint, but in a marathon, every decision along the way must be focused on a strong finish. It is vital to respect the distance in a long race; a marathoner must run with the end in mind. The apostle Paul proclaimed: “Run in such a way as to claim the prize”, comparing our journey of faith to a race. It is not a competition against others; it is a race to finish well. While literally on his deathbed, Costa Deir, one of my precious spiritual fathers, looked like a traffic cop at the center of a jammed intersection. “Please, write this down”, “Send this to Africa”, “Get me the phone”, “Hand me my bible”…as he intended from the start, he ran to the ribbon. He died as he had lived. My LORD My God, grant me the strength, wisdom and endurance to finish fast and strong. Help me run to the ribbon.
John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come” is an allegory written while he was imprisoned for his Christian beliefs. Until we reach the Golden Gates of Heaven we must progress in our walk of faith here on earth. Each time I think I understand God’s ways and means He turns the diamond and new facets of His splendor emerge. For the true believer there is no spiking the ball in the end zone on this side of Glory; there is no settling down where we are in this life. Not only am I tolerant of this constantly changing status, I am genuinely thankful for it. I am being pulled toward eternal purpose that I cannot fathom but I instinctively know awaits me. So I’ll keep my shoes on until it’s over. Lord, though I struggle in Your arms, You never let me go. Keep me moving toward Your perfect will. Help me never miss a turn or stop unnecessarily. Keep me progressing toward Your perfect will.