Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
COURAGE TO TRY AGAIN
I spent a lot of time this February curled up under a thick fleece blanket watching Winter Olympic events: skiing, jumping, figure skating, snowboarding and yes, as a Canadian now, the final women’s hockey game. I was happy when Canada won medals, but mostly I enjoyed watching excellent human performance, no matter the homeland of the athlete.
Feats of speed, balance, and focus always astound me. I find myself holding my breath waiting for a ski jumper to achieve the perfect landing. I’m impressed by the fierce determination in the eyes of competitors in the flash second before a race. I can be brought to tears by the connection, beauty, and creativity of the ice dancers.
For a few short weeks we are allowed to be witnesses to the fruit of a lifetime of training and practice. I am reminded of a song sung by the late Whitney Houston on the 1988 Summer Olympics Album:
“I’ve lived to be
The very best
I want it all
No time for less
I’ve laid the plans
Now lay the chance
Here in my hands
Give me one moment in time
When I’m more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me”
(“One Moment in Time” written by Albert Louis Hammond and John Bettis)
Yet, it isn’t the artistry, the flexibility, or the skill it takes to compete that moves me the most. No, as breathtaking as those traits may be, it is the raw courage on bold display when someone trips or slips only to rise and keep going. I can’t imagine being able to do that, even in my more-agile, pre-painfilled days.
GOD, HELP US TRY AGAIN
So often, when I’m down, I stay down. Unable to find my way back, I feel frozen in place in both body and mind. With practice, with perseverance, with determination, could we learn to fall, stand, go — fall, stand, go — ”Press on?”
As the Apostle Paul said to the people of Philippi:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,
but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Is it hard? Yes, it often seems impossible, but God has set us on a path in His purpose for us and will help us with every step.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
We’re all in this life together. We may not be Olympic or Paralympic athletes, but we’re all running a race in which God promises to run beside us. When you feel alone, scroll through our blog to see all the stories and help from others on the chronic illness page.
Father God, thank You for Your great love. You promise to hold us and guide us. Help us to feel the strength of Your arms and trust in Your ability to always bring us to the finish line. May all we do bring glory to You, in Jesus’ name.
SOME POINTS TO PONDER:
- Have you ever dreamed of doing something that seems impossible?
- Have you taken time to prayerfully ask God to help you accomplish what you cannot seem to do in your own strength?
- Imagine how it would feel to complete something you thought you never could.
- How can you come alongside someone else who has fallen and help them rise again?
Contributing Writer and Prayer Team
Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord, saved by grace, a worshiper, a poet, a broken heart, a lover of words, His work in progress on the Potter's wheel. She is hungry for truth and amazed by love. After five years in Africa, Karin and Rick (her beloved husband of twenty years), are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. She is the author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).
Stewardship of Courage
The stewardship of courage begins with a deep faith in God, accessed by prayer, and lived out in patient waiting and hopeful trust.