This past semester, we had a group of women who completed an in-depth study of Revelation Chapters 1-4. At the close of our time together, about two weeks ago, Wednesday Tryan summarized what we learned with the following. I can assure you there weren’t many dry eyes in the room as she shared it and the tears have welled up every time I have read it since. I’m sharing it here as a timely reminder of the impact Scripture can have on our lives today. We don’t run alone, we need Him and we need each other. Thank you Wednesday for sharing this application of Rev. 1-4 … I’m grateful for your insight and obedience.
What does it look like in our Christian life to overcome? Many of us have probably heard our Christian walk referred to as running a race, but it doesn’t take long to see that this race is a marathon not a sprint.
Think about how we all start the race. We start with the desire to “overcome” – to hold fast our faith (to the end). We start out excited, we have this new friendship with the Lord. We are ready to run our hearts out for HIM. But then the race gets harder, we may feel like we’ve hit a wall. We may even notice people around us dropping out. All of us, at some point, will hit a wall.
In marathons (from what I’ve learned) when training, you have to prepare yourself for hitting a wall. This wall typically happens around the 20th mile. You feel as though, that’s it. You have given all you’ve got; you can’t go any further, people start dropping and you have absolutely nothing left.
As Christians we also prepare for our wall and that’s why we are here – learning, studying and applying God’s word.
In the Boston Marathon, this point (wall) is called Heartbreak Hill. It is a steady incline of hills throughout the last 6 miles of the race. It is a continuous climb that just gets higher and higher. Finishing the race seems impossible. In that moment, you can’t look too far ahead, it is too overwhelming, so you trust your training and you fix your eyes on just one step at a time.
My daughter, Amanda, started running a few years ago. As she puts it, both she and her dog had gotten a little lazy over the winter. So, in an effort to get them a little exercise she started running. She soon discovered that she really liked it. Around that time, she met Jourdan, a fellow teacher (who also had a dog) and together they began running.
Last April, they ran the Boston Marathon. So, I asked her about Heartbreak Hill, and this is what she said…. “We thought we did Heartbreak Hill before we did Heartbreak Hill. We got to the top and Jourdan said ‘okay – that was it, we did it’. Then someone running next to us said, ‘nope – it’s coming up now, but don’t worry, you got it’. She continued, “Mom, it was really hard, it was one hill after another. People were dropping out and fainting all around us. But there was a lot of encouragement the whole way. When we got to the top, a person gave us a purple otter pop, and that saved us.”
And they finished the race – together – like they have every race. They train together, start together, run together and finish together. Every race. When I asked Amanda why they do that, she said. “Mom, we always say running is what started our friendship and we couldn’t have gotten where we are without each other. It wouldn’t have been as fun or meant as much as finishing alone. She understands what it took to train and get there. She is the only one who has experienced the race, who knows what I’ve ran and knows what lies ahead because she’s run it too.”
There is a picture of the two of them (Amanda and Jourdan) crossing the finish line together, with their hands clasped and their arms up in the air, smiling. I just love that picture, and not because it’s my daughter (although that’s pretty cool) but because of their faces. You look at their faces and you don’t see all the pain it took to get there, all the hills they didn’t think they could climb, all the steps they didn’t think they could take. All that is in the past, it doesn’t matter anymore, they had finished the race, together. And all you see is the joy in their faces!
Now I tell you all of this because that is how I picture us, as we finish our race – as overcomers – holding fast to our faith till the end.
You know, we are all in different places in our marathon. Some of us may have just started the race, so excited about this new friendship with the Lord. Never stop your training, be prepared. Keep studying, keep learning, keep growing and keep applying God’s truths to your life, even when you begin to see others drop out. While, there are some of us that thought we did Heartbreak Hill, only to realize that – “Nope, it’s still ahead.” And then, there are those of us, who know someone who is in the middle of their Heartbreak Hill, and we need to ask ourselves, how can we come alongside them to strengthen and encourage them. To remind them that they don’t run the race alone. Because we, like Amanda and Jourdan, have a running partner too. One who’s friendship started when we began running our race. One who trains, runs and finishes with us. Only the running partner we run with, is the One who overcame first. Our running partner is….
The One who holds the 7 stars
The One who walks among the 7 lampstands
The First and the Last, who died and came to life
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword
The One with eyes like a flame and burnished bronze feet
The One who has the 7 Spirits of God and the 7 stars
The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David
The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness
The beginning of the creation of God
And our prize, well our prize isn’t a purple Otter Pop. Our prize is……
The tree of life in the paradise of God
The Crown of Life
We will not be hurt by the second death
We’re given hidden manna, a white stone, a new name
Authority over nations
The Morning Star
We will walk with Him, clothed in white garments
Our name confessed before the Father
Our name will not be erased from the Book of Life
We are made a pillar in the temple of God
We are given a seat with Jesus on His Throne