In this week’s blog, Pippa Lloyd encourages us to keep going!
I’ve been trying to go running again after the birth of my second child. The other day my family very kindly came to the park with me so I could do some laps while they played in the playground! As I was running out of steam and my legs were starting to wobble my 2-year old (coached well by daddy!) stood on the edge of the path and shouted, “Keep going Mummy; you can do it!” This injected me with the energy for a few more laps to then be greeted by her running towards me at the end!
The New Testament frequently writes about our spiritual walk with God being a bit like running a race (see Heb 12, Gal 2, 2 Tim 4, 1 Cor 9). One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Philippians 3:12-14 which says, “Not that I have already obtained all this or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
Let go of the past
When my 2-year old attempts the monkey bars at the playground sometimes she’s scared to let go of a hand to reach out for the next bar. So I explain that she won’t get any further along unless she lets go of that hand and moves it forward to the next bar. In the same way, if we want to take hold of the future, we need to let go of the past.
Whether it’s ‘the good old days’ or the more shameful parts of your past, the hurts done to you by others or the great successes you can boast about, we can all get stuck in a moment in time. Paul says he must forget what is behind and strain towards what is ahead. That doesn’t mean we forget the past or deny it ever happened but instead face it and deal with it so we can leave it behind. Whatever your past is – whether it’s success, failure, pain, offence, or hurt – let it go. Leave it behind so that you might take hold of all God has for you up ahead.
Paul uses the phrase “strain towards what’s ahead”. It doesn’t sound like my gentle jog in the park, more like a gruelling, hard slog of a marathon! I’m no marathon runner, but I imagine there must be moments during the race where you feel like giving up altogether, where you have to fight to keep going mentally as well as physically.
Sometimes we face a mountain or an obstacle on our race course, and it’s exhausting. We face bereavement, an ongoing family crisis, sickness or unemployment, and our legs turn to jelly. We try to keep running but the pain is relentless; we can barely put one foot in front of the other. We feel like giving up. Paul’s encouragement echoes from the side lines – press on. Keep going. Fight for your marriage. Trust God for that job. Stay close to Him through your suffering. Strain towards what’s ahead. Hold on. Why? Because there’s a prize to win at the end.
Win the prize
Praise God for the hope we have in Jesus! There will be a day when we cross the finish line and we’ll see Him face to face and get to be with Him forever! When we meet Him, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2). There will be a day when He will “wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4).
It will be worth the journey, the pain, the battle, the struggle, the ups and downs. He is the ultimate prize we’re running after. So keep running. Don’t give up. Press on. He will be worth it.