Friday, June 6, 2014

The Race

“6 So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here.
7 These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 Living Bible (TLB)

I would like to share the words to a song that I have long loved. I’m unsure if it’s unfair of me to withhold the name of the author, but I’m not going to reveal that for my own reasoning.

“I see you struggling every day
You think, How long
Can I go on this way?
On and on
Again and again
Oh, when will it end?

You think, I just can't go on
Much longer
But inside, my friend,
Your faith is growing stronger
You feel the fire burning
Deep in your soul
But I want you to know

I think I see gold
I think I see gold in the fire
Right there in the ashes
Is all you've desired
Oh, it's hard
As you press toward the goal
Don't give up
Don't give in
Don't stop now
I think I see gold

Until this moment
You've always believed
When life grew darkest
By faith you could see
Open your eyes
Look for the light
You see, you were right

These lonely hours
Like a fire refining
Something that's precious
Something that's shining
There in the darkness
Surrounded by coals
Is starting to glow
I think I see gold
I think I see gold in the fire
Right there in the ashes
Is all you've desired
Oh, it's hard
As you press toward the goal
Don't give up
Don't give in
Don't stop now
I think I see gold
-Author Withheld

The Bible speaks so much about “running the race”, “pressing forward”, “being refined by fire”- it’s always encouraging, “don’t give up”.

No matter how strong your faith is- it can always be stronger. No matter how fast you run, you can always improve your time. No matter how optimistic you are, you can always cheer more. We’re never to give up- we’re never to give in.

I wasn’t much of an athlete when I was younger, but I played summer softball. I remember my coach telling me- “Don’t look back!”- “Don’t slow down”- “Run through”. As Christian that is SO true of our Faith.

I’m only speaking for MYSELF- please always know, I claim NO authority over you, I am a simple messenger.

In my lifetime- my personal race, I have been refined by fire may times. I have made mistakes that not only scarred myself, but others I love dearly. I have spent endless hours on my knees asking, praying-no pleading for forgiveness. Sobbing out to God to help me “make it right” again. Some of my sins have been so public, and still others have been behind closed doors that only He knows about. There have been times I wanted to stop running, there have been many times I simply kept running, but ran the wrong direction. My race slowed down sometimes and at other times sped up so fast I thought my heart would pound right out of my chest. I couldn’t catch my breath. My race has left me breathless, exhausted, sometimes peaceful and sometimes pathetic. It’s been up hills, down through valleys, along plains and even seemed at times beyond the clouds.

God is my Track Coach- He’s spoke to my heart and has said “Don’t look back”- and let me assure you- I can get SO caught up in looking back. The Great Lord has made us human, and as humans, we forgive, but oh,… is it so hard to forget. Isn’t it? It is so hard.

He’s told me “Don’t slow down”. At times, I’ve lost the momentum. There’ve been times, I’ve slowed to almost a crawl. I’m dragging- I’m on the ground begging to stop. But He’s never let me give up- Praise God!
He’s said “Run through!” I can see the goal, but I’m not there yet. I won’t be there until I pass the gold ribbon and enter His Gate of Heaven- AMEN?!?

Something I’m learning is- I love people, I love sharing life with people, being with people, talking and fellowshipping with people, but more importantly, I love God. And He could take everything and everyone I have today away from me. He could finish my race even before I finish these thoughts. It’s great having people in our lives, people in which we share our most intimate details, but it’s never to replace our race with Him. Our race is never for ourselves, it’s not for our family or for our friends. It’s not for our glory- it’s only for His.
So my dearest loved ones- run your race- listen to your Coach- press toward the ONLY Goal, that which is Christ Jesus and I’ll see you at the finish line!

Father God, Thank you for the race of life. Thank you that you have given me the opportunity to continue running, even when I’ve wanted to give up. And you KNOW how badly I’ve wanted to give up. Help me to keep my eyes on You and only You. Not to look back, not to give in or give up. I will praise only You Lord, until I have completed this life and spend eternity with You.

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