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Don’t underestimate the Power of the Divine Spirit.

I said to my father, “Dad, I qualified. I am going to run the Boston Marathon this year.” He retorted, “Are you crazy; you are too old for that; you are going to get an injury.” I replied, “What about you? You are 92 years old, and you are going up a 40-foot ladder to fix a leak in the roof.” He answered, Well, that is different. I was working on a job.” So you can see that I was blessed with really good genes. And I intend to use every one of them while I am alive. But what about others who do not have great genes? We all have the human spirit.

For years, no one ever broke the four-minute mile. Experts came to the conclusion that humans could only run that fast. Wind resistance, lung capacity, human muscles, and bone structure were simply insufficient to support such speeds. Then, one person defied the odds and proved them all wrong.  Rodger Banister ran the mile in under four minutes. What is more amazing is that in the next year, 37 people ran the mile in under four minutes. The year after that, over 300 people broke the four-minute mile. What happened? Did training change, did they manufacture better running shoes, did nutrition improve. No, it was the power of the human spirit.

As you may know, eleven thousand runners who qualified for the Boston Marathon this year were cut. That is because Boston only allows a limited number of participants in the race. I know some of those who were cut. Yes, they were disappointed, but do you know what they did all winter? They trained hard, in the morning, in the dark at the track, because some day they would run the Boston Marathon. That is the human spirit.

My Vietnamese friend told me when he arrived in the United States to live, he did not know a word of English, had no friends, and nor a toy to make him smile. Fifteen years later, he graduated from law school and passed the bar exam. I exclaimed, “That is amazing.” He assured to me, “Never underestimate the human spirit. It is very powerful.”

I mention this because we have something more powerful in addition to the human spirit–the divine spirit.

John, who wrote the Gospel, also wrote a letter to discouraged Christians. They were disheartened because they were treated in the world as social outcasts. To outsiders, they were losers who worshiped a loser who was humiliated by the Romans on the Cross. They were like the eleven thousand who were cut from the Marathon. But John intervened and told them, “Do not underestimate the power of the divine spirit. Use it because you will be able to do things you were never able to do before. You will be generous like God, kind like God, and forgiving like God. Those are words for us. Never get discouraged; don’t underestimate the divine spirit. 

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