“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the One who calls you.” Galatians 5:7-8
While out on my walk this morning, I thought about these verses. As a runner, verses that compare our spiritual journey to running a race and crossing the finish line resonate deeply with me.
One of things I love most about these verses is that the encouragement to keep running and staying the course come from the lips of a man who had good reasons to despair and even better reasons to quit the race on countless occasions during his lifetime.
“Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea.” 2 Corinthians 11:25
And yet, through it all, he kept running. He finished the race.
It wasn’t a perfect race. It wasn’t an easy race. It was far from pain or suffering free.
But it was the Hope of the One who he personally encountered that afternoon on a dusty road to Damascus that forever transformed his heart and his perspective.
Because that’s was Jesus offers us.
A new heart and a new spirit-filled perspective.
Hope in the darkness. Hope through the endless suffering. Hope through the senseless pain.
From that encounter forward, Paul knew the truth. And no matter what his earthly eyes and body had to endure, His spiritual eyes stayed firmly fixed on what was waiting at the finish line if he did not quit or give up.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4: 6-8