>There is a mentor of sorts who understands one area of my life that has been a constant struggle. Its tough to maintain the right focus when all the variables are not up to you (are they ever) and there are parts of it that are out of your control (aren’t they all.) There is a danger to become careworn when your efforts wash up against a facade like waves against cliffs. The effort doesn’t seem to produce any effect on your anticipated result and that misleading message can drain you.
We don’t talk much. Well let me clarify. In my greed we don’t talk as much as I’d like to but the message given is perhaps more necessary and cherished than any rambling over nonsensical brotherhoodish (is that a word) discussions that would occur if we talked more. A few years ago he explained some things about my struggle and further encouraged me that in spite of my own shortcomings I am still OK. And moreover he said to me “It is a Marathon DeLano.”
From time to time I forget this and anticipate a finish line that is only a mile marker… I remember being in a state match for wrestling on my way to a state championship and fighting through a period struggling to get free. I managed an escape as the clock ran out. I thought I was up and it I had won. I was down 1 point and still had another period left…those moments take the strength and the air right out of you simultaneously. Those moments are what make me want to walk right off the mat and give up. I didn’t that day but there have been other matches in life where I’ve tried to walk right out the gym.
It is indeed a marathon. Its painful when the entire race seems uphill. Painful when you are running against the wind, painful when you have to run a relay race…alone…for a season. But it is a race none-the-less and one that has to be run. Thank God that it is not one that is really alone even when we are lonely.
I think there is a beautiful lesson in Acts 14 I was reading this morning that reminds us something about this marathon. Paul has been stoned and drug out of a city; thought to be dead for proclaiming the good news of the Christian Marathon. And He returns to other cities after this and you see this mutual encouragement with a primary theme “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Struggle is normative, the grace of God is that we get to run. Why fret at the race if it is a privilege to run at all? I have to maintain the right perspective and that is that is that the scripture does not say “through many trials will you fail to enter….” God provides Marathon Grace. If there is a gift beyond the opportunity it is that a marathon does have a beginning and an end. He’ll mount us up on wings as eagles, he’ll keep us from fainting, he’ll keep oil in the lamp, He’ll help us hold our peace, He’ll do all this while bringing up the rear, running every step of the same trek, always ensuring we’re not last or forced to forfeit, is grace and mercy.
It is a marathon. Weariness is expected. But there is grace in the running.