Thanks to Deb del Villar for writing today’s post.
I remember back to my swim-team days. I was never a star swimmer, but I filled a spot, usually bringing in points for 3rd place. Breaststroke was my favorite, with freestyle coming in a close second.
At one particular swim meet, my coach realized there were only two swimmers up on the blocks for the next race – the individual medley [you could have 6 swimmers]. In this race you did 50 meters of each stroke, starting with butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and finally ending with freestyle. The coach called my name and asked me to swim the race.
I was one of a few swimmers that was not already slated for 3 races – the maximum you were allowed to swim. I looked at him in horror. I did not do two of those strokes and certainly not for that long of a distance. His quick words to me: “Just finish the race. Do not get disqualified. I do not care how long it takes. We will get needed points which will help us win.” I reluctantly climbed up on the block and waited for the horn to blow.
I remember the race as if I swam it today. I started out ok with the butterfly using the breaststroke kick. I never had conquered that weird kick of butterfly. Then I managed to stay in my lane for the backstroke. Two down but my energy was waning quickly and my breathing was fast. Breaststroke was my favorite so I remember thinking just keep swimming. I had no idea where the other swimmers were in the race. I had not seen anyone for a long time. I just kept swimming. Finally I was on the last leg of the race. With each stroke, I was sure I was going to drown.
Others must have thought the same thing, because I saw people up along the edges of the pool walking alongside me as I swam. Finally, I thought “I cannot do it, I cannot finish, I will drown.” Then I heard a voice above all the others – My Mom! I heard her call out to me, “You can do it, you are almost there. Do not give up! I am right here! I know you can finish.”
I DID! Exhausted, my coach pulled me out of the water. I sat on the edge of the pool. My coach told me that I came in second because one of the other swimmers had been disqualified. That was the best finish I had ever done – or ever would do.
As I think of that story even now, it reminds me so much of my Christian race. There are times the Lord asks me to do something that I cannot believe He is asking. There is no way, I can do it! I have never done it before! It is too hard – too long – He is asking way too much. Then in obedience I submit and take that first step. Then the next step, and the next and the next.
There are times along the way, I am beyond ready to quit, I cannot make it. Yet, there is a great cloud of witnesses cheering me on. Above it all, I hear my heavenly Father say, “You can do it! I am right here with You! Draw on My strength! I know you can finish!”
These virus days are hard. Maybe you have many more challenges in addition to the virus. Do not give up! We –as fellow believers – are cheering you on. Above that, our Heavenly Father is cheering you on. Finish your race well, Do not be disqualified. Keep the faith.
“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2