Finish the Race!

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

My husband is a real estate agent. So, the other day he invited me to join him in walking off some property that he is listing. He took me on a very long, two hour, hike of over a hundred and seventy-six acres of forest and fields. Honestly, had I known, at the beginning of our journey, that we were setting out to walk that far – and through such difficult terrain that included creeks, rocks, logs, steep hills, tall grass, potholes and thick woods – I am not sure if I would have agreed to follow him so eagerly. His excitement in exploring this property was so intense that I had to keep up the pace – or get left behind! I focused on his every step, making sure I went “only” where he had, first, proven safe. I trusted him completely.

As I was walking, I was earnestly praying, “Lord, speak to me; I am longing to hear your voice!” Even though I heard nothing at all from the Lord that entire two hours, I continued to seek Him at every new adventure. Much like Elijah, I was listening to see if God’s voice was in the wind, in the birds, in the sun, or in the creek. While His majesty was certainly revealed to me through all of nature, still, I had a strong desire to hear a special word from Him that day; something just for me. I wanted to hear the voice of my Daddy (Abba Father). I was longing to enter into the Secret Place of the Most High, to bask in the love of my heavenly Father’s words of encouragement and affirmation.

As we trekked over, and up, and around, and through… many times we would come to a dead end that required us to look for an alternate passage. Other times, thick weeds and tall grass blocked our view and made it difficult for us to push through with sure footing. Never-the-less, we kept walking. We didn’t talk much; we just pressed onward, enjoying the fresh air and all of nature’s beauty as we stayed true to our course.

I guess we could have stopped to rest at some point. We could have even stopped to talk. But, something inside of each of us kept moving our feet in rhythmic motion as we determined to roam this property in one constant movement of anticipation. All the while, I was secretly praying – longing to hear the voice of the Lord.

At the end of our long excursion – and just before we emerged from the woods onto a country road that would lead us back to our point of entry – I was just about to tell my husband, “I can’t go any further. My feet are aching… I am thirsty and hungry! Let’s take a rest!” That’s when I suddenly I realized that our walk was almost complete and so I decided to keep silent, instead. My resolve to march forward with great anticipation set in as the thought of relaxing – once and for all – catapulted me down that country road and through the open field that led back to our car. I was dead set on finishing my journey in the comfort of the front seat of my car.

That’s when I heard the Lord’s voice! Just as my red car – which seemed like an oasis in the desert – came into view, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. You have finished the race!”

Wow! The Lord used our day in the woods as an object lesson concerning His written Word to teach me the importance of staying the course, persevering, and following Him with every step.

Here is how He unfolded His message to me: My husband represented the Lord. As I kept my eyes on my husband’s every step, trusting him for safe footing, it was an example of how I am to keep my eyes on the Master – trusting Him in every decision. Then, as we overcame the many obstacles we encountered throughout our exploration while continuing to move forward, we were creating a visual life-lesson of how we should live by faith, everyday. We are to press toward the mark, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)! Finally, as we determined to keep our pace in the woods that day, we were creating, yet another, object lesson of what it means to not grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9).

The Lord revealed to me how each of our lives are much like that hike in the woods. Our adversary, the devil, has laid before us many road blocks, many detours, many briers, and many potholes. In addition, the world we live in has a busy and long drawn-out way of doing things that often times wears us down. Still, when we keep our eyes on the Lord and stay in constant movement toward the thing that He has called us to do, we are assured that He will bring us to an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11). That’s when we’ll hear Him say…

Matthew 25:21
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

You know, I believe this promise is just as true for the life we now live as it is for the life we will live in all of eternity. God’s Word has persuaded me to believe that pressing on in the midst of difficult circumstances leads to our breakthrough! We will enter into the joy of the Lord – even on earth – and actually begin to rule those areas of our lives that were once oppressively overwhelming… if we just keep on, keepin’ on.

God is so thorough. To solidify my spiritual lesson that day, the Lord inspired my husband (unknowingly) to take me to see the movie, Secretariat. What a wonderful seal from the Lord as He used that movie to nail down His message of faith and perseverance that I had learned in the woods earlier that day. Each of our lives contain various cross roads that require us to choose between the status quo of a “sure thing” or a faith walk that involves potential risks. God’s call is usually that of selling-out to the cause and never looking back. Oh, the richness of a life that has taken chances, lived to the fullest, trusted God, and stayed the course. (That’s the broad theme of the movie. I’ll keep the rest a secret and let you see it for yourself. It’s really good!)

I pray that YOU will be encouraged today to run the race that is set before YOU. What is it that the Lord has asked you to do that, perhaps, seems too big or maybe even impossible? Would you pledge to trust Him like never before? Would you trust Him to bring to pass that thing in your heart that will require total faith and commitment in His Word to achieve? Would you give it all to Him and begin to walk in rhythm on the journey of faith that He has designed – specifically – just for you?

He loves you, and He has good gifts for you (Matthew 7:11). Now go! Take a chance. Live on the edge. Trust Him. Finish your race!

I am thankful for His Word, because His Word is true…

1 Corinthians 9:24
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.”

In Christ,
Deborah Ross
Strengthening Families & Encouraging Women

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