Earlier this year I ran my second marathon. If you are wondering how far that is, just picture yourself taking the scenic route from Coral Gables to Homestead. It is a little over 26 miles.
This wonderful adventure I signed up for took place in Walt Disney World, where every mile is promised to be magic. The race takes you through all four theme parks and even the ESPN Wide World of Sports. On race day, spectators are in the crowd cheering while Mickey stands above the runners with a flag in his hand. This is the final countdown. Fireworks. Flashing lights. Neon shoes. 3… 2… 1… Go!
Surrounded by Magic
This is one of the most exciting moments in the race. People surround you and everyone is chanting songs from the Disney soundtrack circa 1992. At this pace, the 26 miles ahead will be cake. But then you get to mile 8, the sun starts to come up, people have their headphones on, so the singing has quieted, and the cheer squad is taking a nap in the car.
I picture this is us when we start on this faith journey. We decide to follow Jesus. There is clapping and excitement, a new journey ahead! Maybe you even see some flashing lights. Then some months go by. Or years. That feeling we had on the first day we encountered Jesus has dimmed. How can we possibly make it to the finish line?
Remember Why You Started
We have this little problem called sin. Romans 3:23 states that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no good deed big enough to save us from our sin. The good news is there is a God that leads us to recognize the sinful nature, stirs repentance, and freely gives us salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10-11).
That is why we started. We came face to face with a God, who so lovingly sent his son Jesus to die for our sins on a cross, and recognized that we needed Him. Let’s call this the start of our marathon. The crowd was cheering, hands in the air, and praise music blasting from the speakers.
What you may need to remember is that you didn’t choose this race first. The bible tells us in Ephesians 1:4-5 that God chose us before the creation of the world, predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ. He chose us first to start this marathon, and was just waiting for us to tell him 3… 2… 1… Go! Forgive me of my sin! Fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me to your beautiful and perfect will.
Keep Your Rhythm
As with any race, there are times that feel like you are not moving. Now that you remember why you started, the next step is to keep your rhythm. A runner does this by setting a pace. There is something called the “magic mile,” which is basically a tool that helps a runner set realistic goals. Once you figure out your magic mile, then you learn what pace you need to run each mile in order to finish at your goal time.
In Philippians 3:14 we are reminded of our goal. We are called heavenward. There is a crown of righteousness waiting for all that are eager for his coming (2 Timothy 4:8). When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can take the next step, and then the next step, and the next. This is the testing of our faith. Through each difficult mile, we pushed through, kept the faith, and finished our race.