Today’s devotional is taken from an entry in Sharon Jaynes’ book, Extraordinary Moments With God. One of my favorite authors and speakers, Sharon has a way of bringing real-life stories into the light of Jesus’ words. Within these “God moments”, you begin to sense His presence in extraordinary ways. Just as God spoke to the uneducated fishermen, the housewife at the well, and the shepherd in the field, He continues to speak to ordinary men and women today, just as Sharon claims. She writes from the mindset that in recognizing the gentle nudges, detecting the still small voice, and turning aside from the busyness, we too can see the “burning bushes” in our own backyards.
Her entry today is entitled: The Winner
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
It was the first swim meet of the year for the newly formed, middle-school aquatic team. The atmosphere was electric with anticipation as 48 adolescents thought of nothing but victory. Justin was among the bunch, and he was swimming the 500-yard freestyle for the first time.
Toward the end of his race everyone had finished…except Justin. His hands slapped against the water, and it looked like he might go under at any moment. But something kept pushing him onward even though the race had been won eight minutes before.
One teammate, inspired by his brave friend, went to the side of the pool and walked the lane as Justin pressed on.
“Come on Justin, you can do it! Keep going! Don’t give up!”
He was joined by another, then another, until the entire team was walking the length of the pool, encouraging their friend to finish the race. Soon the opposing team saw what was happening and joined in the chant. Previously concerned parents rose to their feet cheering, shouting, and praying. The room pulsated with energy and excitement as teammates and opponents alike pumped courage into one small swimmer.
Twelve long minutes after the starting whistle had blown, and exhausted but smiling Justin swam his final lap and struggled to pull himself our of the pool. The crowd has applauded the swimmer who finished the race, but they gave Justin a greater cheer for simply finishing the race.
To all you “runners” (and former swimmers :), may we keep in mind today that it’s not about finishing first, it’s just about the one foot, or “arm slap” to the next. Our finish line awaits us in the heavenly realms, for “great is our reward”. Have a terrific Thursday!