At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, British athlete Derek Redmond won the first round of the 400m race with the fastest time and also easily won the quarterfinals. But in the semifinal, just 150 meters into the race, his right hamstring tore, causing him to fall to the ground. He gathered all his courage to stand up as the stretchers were being carried toward him. In tears and his face grimacing in terrible pain, he was determined to finish the lap and started to hobble down the track. His dad Jim Redmond barged past security to be united with his son, and assisted him until the finish line. And as they crossed the finish line, they were given a rousing standing ovation by the 65,000-strong crowd.
You are running a race as well. The race is impossible on your own. God the Father found a way to come along side you. He wants to wrap his strong and loving arms around you. He wants to help you finish strong.
Take Heart. Jesus has sent a comforter, the Holy Spirit, to speak words of encouragement to you, at just the right time. You are not alone in the race. Take heart. The Holy Spirit indwells us and writes the will of God on our hearts. As we grow in relationship with Him, we hear his voice, often through the words of Scripture, encouraging and exhorting us to finish strong. Take heart. Jesus is with you. He has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you. When human relationships disappoint, He is there. When we are challenged to love and respect one another, He is there.
In fellowship with one another, as we let people in and become a part of faith fellowships like a local church, we can sometimes be the voice of Jesus to one another, cheering one another on. The book of Hebrews uses the metaphor of the spiritual life as a race. We are to cheer one another on, staying in fellowship with one another, keeping our eyes on the finish line. The author says:
“Therefore… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race set before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
You run your race on the tracks of integrity, faithfulness, and relationships. Jesus stands at the finish line; arms open wide, face beaming with joy, cheering you on. If you listen to his teachings and run the race his way, your joy will be full, you will be blessed, and you will receive the ultimate medal at the end of the race.
Heart matters are at the center of our spiritual walk, our relationships, and our marriages. Heart really matters. Take heart! Jesus is waiting, eager to award you the ultimate medal with these words:
“Well done my good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s happiness.”