On Mondays, we fast and pray for lunch (or something other than food) asking for the Lord to bring healing in our times: for men to be bold and to walk in to relationships with women, for women to be soft and willing to be molded by God’s gracious plan in their lives, and for God to give the good gift of marriage to those who desire it.
Rolling hills, steep climbs, cooling descents, and flat straight-a-ways gave me some time to think about this post as I pushed my legs to pedal 21 miles on my bicycle. I’m participating in a 75-mile fundraiser ride in a month and if I don’t get more miles in the saddle, I’ll be doomed on event day.
Today proved to be a newsworthy day in the sports world. The Women’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament came down to the final strokes. In Gee Chun was able to pull off a win in her Open debut. I had the opportunity to attend Saturday’s event and watch the professionals in action. There is something about seeing individuals at the top of their game; they make their sport look easy. The spectators cheer, jeer, and give instruction to the individual and the ball without much regard for the dedication, sacrifice, and countless hours of practice that brought them to the main stage of their sport.
The other feat of the day was the dismantling of the record for the fastest, supported, completion of the Appalachian Trail. Scott Jurek toppled Jennifer Pharr Davis’ record by just 3 hours and 13 minutes. He faced many challenges along the way, injury and stomach illness slowed his pace, but he kept pushing towards the goal. I’ve hiked several sections of the AT in PA and I have a hard time walking the trail without stumbling over rocks and tree roots, I can’t imagine trying to run the entire trail.
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:1 “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
The sports metaphor is not lost on me; set a goal, follow the course, push past the pain, and keep moving. What does trip me up, though, is keeping my eyes on the correct goal. We’ve talked about marriage being a gift in numerous blog posts on FastPray; so that means marriage is not a goal, destination, or achievement to be conquered. I believe that is an important distinction to make sure we have settled in our heart and mind. Gifts are given and received without regard for merit or preparedness.
However, if marriage is our goal, then we need to strive to achieve it. Beauty becomes our vice. Dating becomes our training ground. Marriage becomes the measure of success or failure. And the longer we’re playing for marriage, the more we question our game-plan and our ability to even be in the race.
The full context of Hebrews 12: 1 -3:
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I’ve been challenged lately to make sure I’m striving for more of Jesus and less of what Michelle wants or thinks she needs. No angling, cajoling, or manipulating to try to get something or someone. The “therefore” in the beginning of chapter 12 is referring to the Hall of Faith highlighted in Hebrews 11. We are to run a race filled with faith that advances the Kingdom of God, because so many people before us have lived by faith and did crazy things like give instructions about bone burial and marched until walls fell down.
Let us strive for more faith and eyes fixed on Jesus. How would this sentence be completed in your life, “By faith (insert your name)…”
Jesus, help us!