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Finish Lines

I ran my first marathon last October. I also finished my second marathon several hours ago. While the subject is still fresh in my mind, I would like to state that marathons are not easy. But that is not the hardest part. Training is harder. I get up at four in the morning alone when it is dark outside. The cold, poor weather, and the wind sting my face. No matter how much I do not want to run or how difficult the task is, I am always glad that I did it.

Do you know what they call it when you are glad you did something challenging? It is called a finish line. Finish lines give meaning to difficult tasks. They give meaning to perseverance, struggles, and difficulties. But above all, finish lines give meaning to life. Parents know it when they walk their daughter down the aisle in church for the wedding. Students know it at graduation.

Yesterday, I was on mile 24 when I found myself at the bottom of a really steep hill. I just kept telling myself, “Just get to the top, you can do it, just get to the top.” When I arrived at the top, I looked up, and I saw another hill. When I crossed the finish line, I hunched over in exhaustion.  A woman volunteer came over to me and asked me if I was okay. She had no idea how happy I was. I wish that every person, at least once in their lives could experience what I felt at that moment I crossed that finish line. At that moment every hill, every pain, and every difficult run was worth it.

I tell you this because when Christ walked into that room on the day of His resurrection, His disciples were filled with joy. They could look back at the journey and recall at that moment the long days, the feeding of five thousand families, crossing the sea in a storm, the opposition of the religious leaders, and the misunderstandings of others. Yet at that moment, despite all the difficulties, the exhaustion, the opposition, the tests of faith were worth it.

When Christ walked into that upper room, He gave all of us a gift: a finish line. That means that every hardship, trial, struggle, discouragement, or let-down which we have ever experienced will be worth it. It is the greatest gift that God can give our lives–a finish line.

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