The Commonwealth Games have begun this week. All countries, still allegiant to the Queen of England, take part in a huge sporting event, on a par with the olympics. Yesterday I was watching some of the triathlon. Men were running, swimming, and bike riding, all with one aim — to cross the finish line. As time passed, you could see the hard breathing, lungs no doubt searing in discomfort, gulping for air to go on. Muscles were aching, bodies were exhausted, but they pressed on.
Such a race in not dissimilar to the track we run in our spiritual world. We find ourselves in difficult situations, perhaps it’s hard to breathe, we ache and endure pain of suffering with every event, but we press on, keeping our eyes on the prize — Jesus waiting at the finish line! One glimpse of His face, and anything endured in our lives will be as nothing compared to the prize of Jesus.
This reminds me of the verse in Job 23:10, But He knows the way that I take. When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Sometimes this verse is misunderstood. Some have mistakingly thought this meant that God was deliberately throwing us in the fires of difficulties on purpose; then, if we by our own strength got through, He would reward us at the end. Oh, no, that is not the meaning!
Have you ever watched a craftsman molding gold? While it’s in the fire, all the impurities rise to the surface. Then the craftsman can remove what’s not needed, and mold only what is pure and lovely. The result is something of great beauty.
When you and I find ourselves in the the midst of the troubles of this world, God has not thrown us in; it’s the result of the fallen and sinful world we live in. This verse means that, while we are in the fires of painful circumstances, God Himself will offer us His own strength and wisdom to get through. Then, when we have taken all He gives us to cross the finish line, like the beauty of gold, we, too, emerge beautiful and triumphant!
We know it to be true that God equips us with all we need to daily face our troubles, because there are numerous promises of His help to us throughout the Bible. When we run a difficult race in our world, God is our coach and trainer, teaching us how to press on, and not give up. The key is focus. Like the athletes in the triathlon, their only focus is the finish line. Let it be the same with us — never giving up, never tripping over a hurdle and laying on the track in failure, but getting up and running again, aiming for the finish line.
When we cross God’s finish line, everyone gets a gold medal. Everyone wins. Everyone who reaches the finish line sees the prize that is waiting for them. Jesus in all His glory — and we get to live with Him — in a place of no more tears — forever! Press on fellow athletes! Let us obtain the prize together. Oh, what joy!