1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
Reading this verse, I can’t help but write about class 10’s adventure yesterday. At 6:00 a.m. we left towards the humungous volcano at our backs, Agua. We began our hike around 7:30, and we didn’t get back home until 6:30 at night. 38,695 steps, 17 miles, and about 9 hours later, we finished the climb. It was absolutely the most physically exhausting thing I have ever done, and it was one of my greatest mental battles as well. We took plenty of breaks along the way, but the battle was uphill at a steep incline, and the paths were filled with all kinds of hindrances. The only thing that kept me going, was knowing that the prize would come at the end. If I could just make it to the top, if I could just keep pressing on, I would experience victory and witness beauty unlike any other. I can tell you right now that it was not Charis who was hiking, but the Lord. I had no strength, my legs ached, and for about half of the hike, we got stuck in a cloud and I couldn’t see ten feet in front of me. But the verse that I kept going back to was Hebrews 12:1-2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The battle Jesus took on the road to the cross, and the pain he experienced, was infinitely worse than anything I could ever imagine. The perfect, sinless, Son of God, carried the weight of the entire world’s sins, on his shoulders, and it killed him. Now all he asks of me, is to carry my cross, lay aside my fears, sins, and anxieties, and follow him. He doesn’t promise that the path is going to be easy and flat, but he promises that the view at the top will be worth every tear, every trial, and every pain. The last quarter mile was treacherous, and the group I was with, struggled physically. But we held each other’s arms up when we couldn’t breathe, we carried backpacks when the load was too much to carry, we prayed and proclaimed scripture, and we climbed together, as one body. Every step we took was intentional, and every word was spoken in encouragement, to carry us to the very top. When we finally made it, I couldn’t stop smiling. There was a cloud blocking our view of Guatemala below, but the prize for me was not the beauty of God’s creation, though that was a plus. No, the true prize was knowing that I survived. The prize was knowing that I held on, and God faithfully strengthened my bones to make it to the top. The prize was knowing that when I run in light of the end goal, I can make it through any circumstance, with joy. I will run in light of eternity, knowing that one day, I will stand before my Abba Father, my maker, my very best friend, and hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.” I will see him face to face, I will finally be able to dance with my Savior, for all of eternity. The prize I will receive, the infinite joy that will well up in my heart, makes everything I experience on earth, worth it. So I will not run just to run, I will run, I will endure, I will press on, and I will pursue, with all passion and faith, to meet my God.
Application: I so easily forget the lessons God has taught me, and I so easily forget about my God, and who he is. I don’t want to forget, I want to remember, and I want to remember this lesson, as long as I live. I will memorize 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-2, so that I never forget to press on.