But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
I watched on TV how the summer heat tried to beat the life out of Gabriela Andersen-Schiess of Switzerland. Having run 26 miles in the 1984 Olympics she collapsed 400 meters short of the finish line. It looked pretty certain that Gabriela’s race was over. But then Gabriela proved to everyone watching, including myself, that she was made of tougher stuff. My body hurt as I watched her crawl, waving away all attempts to help her. And I marveled as Gabriela crossed the finish line. Six runners had completely quit the race long before.
Jesus was made of tougher stuff. From the beginning, when the Holy Spirit drives him out to the desert, Jesus demonstrates what it means to not shrink back. At every turn the religious "heat" was continually turning up the temperature in its attempts to beat him down. Even falling under the burden of his cross, he continues to the finish.
In following Jesus, I feel the intensity of religious "heat." Throughout my spiritual race there have been those who have attempted to beat me down with their criticisms, insults and slander. And, I have face planted. But, knowing Jesus and the insults he endured keeps me crawling forward.
Jesus lived a life that proved finishing is possible. Moving forward, even on my hands and knees, will ultimately give me life. If I shrink back, quitting short of the finish line, I will lose for sure.
Jesus, your life proves that hardships are a part of living.
Thank you for never shrinking back from the finish.
Help me, no matter the position,
to keep moving forward to life with You.