Enduring Life’s Hurdles

There are times when the burdens of life are incredibly heavy.  When I experience these times in my personal life and when I walk with others who are struggling, Hebrews 12:1-3 is the Gatorade that keeps me going:  let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Heartache, sickness, and grief can present circumstances that are difficult to endure. Like it or not, they are hurdles that are a part of life’s race.  Regardless of how hard we train, we will find it difficult to cross the finish line if we do not keep our eyes on the goal.

The key to finishing the race is to keep your eyes focused on the next step and not the hurdle three steps in front of you.  Even though tragedies and  trials can appear to be insurrmountable obstacles, a person needs to see more than just the mountain ahead.

Instead of bowing to the mountain,  focus your faith on the God who made the mountain.  When troubles come, do you see just the storm or do you see the rainbow?  When you feel there is no way out, do you hear the roaring lion or do you feel the presence of Daniel’s angels?

When it comes to endurance, you do not have to walk alone.  Jesus extends an invitation to walk with Him and He offers to help carry the load:  Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Mattew 11:28-30 The Message).

Go ahead and read these words from The Message, they should be enough to keep you thinking:  Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!—Hebrews 12:1-3

From Tragedy to Triumph

Little Wilma Rudolph was born prematurely on June 23, 1940 in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee.   She came into this world weighing a mere 4 1/2 pounds. She spent the early years of her childhood in bed battling double pneumonia and scarlet fever.  When she was 6 she was afflicted with polio.  This disease caused her to lose the use of her left leg, so she was fitted with metal leg braces.

One day Wilma asked her parents:  Will I ever be able to run and play like the other children?  Her mother responded:  Honey, you only have to believe.  You have to trust in God because with God all things are possible.

If her story ended when her being a cripple, it would be understandable, but  Wilma was determined to turn her tragedy into  triumph.  She believed God could make it happen; and, by the time she was 9 years old, she was out of the braces and quickly becoming a star on the basketball court.

Wilma’s hard worked transformed her into a 5′ 11″ lightening fast runner, and she went on to win 3 gold medals in 1960 at the Rome Olympics.  She retired from running when she was 22 years old.  She turned her focus to coaching women’s track teams and encouraging young people.  Wilma used her talent and fame to establish the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to assist young athletes in reaching their academic and professional goals.

Here’s a thought to keep you thinking.  Talent is God-given, so be humble.  Fame is man-given, so be thankful.  Conceit is self-given, so be careful.