Our family enjoys watching most any sport, but we hunker down every night to catch sight of the Olympic Games. I suppose we enjoy these events because they are uncommon to see on a regular basis – downhill skiing, the luge, speed skating, and curling. This year has been especially eventful to see the USA women’s team win the gold in our first downhill skiing event.
One night this week the announcers mentioned that each skier had a POV…point of view…of the slope below. This POV was how they would conquer the challenging downhill slopes the fastest for the victory. Unfortunately, some athletes POV overlooked the simple strides of a steady start, while others in the past celebrated too early and lost the gold.
The lesson observed here…the whole race counts! But concentration is needed at the beginning, middle, and end. No moment allows for slackness in effort or focus until the finish line is crossed. This principle was honed in to my heart this morning when I read “Remember, it is the last few yards that tell.” I immediately thought of a football game – to score the touchdown sometimes the greatest efforts are made by the offence – and defense on the one yard line! The devotion continued to the effect of looking at our prayer life and then actions. How many of our prayers have gone unanswered because those of us who prayed did not endure to the end?
Then the words “Can you endure to the end?” brought a resolve within me. I must finish this race God’s way, utilizing his strength to stay strong to the end. As a daily reminder, I have kept by my computer one of my daughter’s handwritten verses from Acts 20:24, “If only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”
I have had a few times when God has led me to scriptures that refer to Jesus’ last hours proclaiming “It is finished” in reference to his work on the cross. I realize the writing of my book and journal is finished – complete. I spent five years, especially the last two, seriously sacrificing time, money, and relationships to finish. I had to make hard choices…right where God wanted me to be, depending on him in my weak area of decision making. I had to choose whether to write or attend a local Bible Study, edit my manuscript or go to lunch with friends. Those other things are good things, but there are times when we must block everything out so we can focus and finish.
When I think about the Olympic athletes, they too, have spent years training for these two or three events in hope to fulfill their dream. They have sacrificed hours of good things for the best thing – their dream! How disheartening to see one fall, no matter what country they represent, and then be disqualified for the award.
The neat and hopeful principle when running a race with God is that if he is in it you will finish, and finish strong. The requirement to compete with God is not on your ability, but on your availability, and trust in his enabling power. God takes people like me who are available and willing, who have no clue what they are doing, and he gives them a commission. “Go, write. Go, speak.”
The first few steps for me were a little wobbly coming out of the gate. Then I too was met with hills to zoom down faster than I have ever gone, sharp turns, harden ice to make it across …which all present their own challenges. Then God sent friends to cheer me on, with reminders along the way that He is with me, stay focused to your goal, and finish the work.
What is your POV? Does the circumstance in your life have you standing at the bottom of the mountain of impossibility? Or do you thank God for the mountain and ask for his strength and grace to conquer it trusting that he will guide you each step of the way?
I remember getting my first copy made of my manuscript for a few to see. Three men came into the store and asked for copies of a song while I was waiting by the check-out counter. The clerk threw a copy of their song right down in front of me. Amazingly, it was a hymn, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.” Three men and a hymn…this wasn’t a coincidence. The blessing was just beginning as I took the step to get my manuscript ready. Little did I know then, that the invitation to climb must be accomplished with praise and thanksgiving. Both of these disciplines take us to God’s POV. He is bigger than our mountains and more able than our fears…He who began a good work in you – will complete it.
For me this week, holding my first hard copy of my book in my hands to approve it for the final print was an exhilarating thrill; it was almost surreal. To think that I’m on the last few yards for the finish…with God all things are possible…and this is just the beginning. We aren’t celebrating all out yet…but we are planning a big book signing party and you ALL are welcome to come!
As if the book wasn’t enough for me, I was treated to another thrill this week as I had the opportunity to speak to 92 ladies in Lexington’s Christian Women’s Club. The room was filled with the flare and flame of love for Valentines. The women were so gracious and hospitable, but the sweet gift for me was having one lady take the step of faith through the eternal doorway of no regrets – acknowledging her need for Jesus in her life.
God’s POV…Are you persevering in the things of eternal value that will not fade away or are you satisfied with the measly crumbs from this life? Are you enduring to the end trusting in his strength? The Olympians go into strict training to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 9:25)