The prize? Oh, it is everything! Its value is unimaginable. There is no sacrifice too great [so as] to compare with the reward. People have willingly given their very lives to participate. Every obstacle only strengthens. Every mile reenergizes with hope and anticipation. The only thing that matters is that moment, that race, that day!
Sure, there were difficult days during training. There were discouraging moments when you wondered if participation was really necessary – certainly there would be room in the viewing stands. Why go through the pain? Why? Because of the prize! You must not focus upon the past pain – this might discourage you. The “what if” moments of the race might cause you to break your stride.
But there were good days in training! There were days you felt you could conquer the world. You were invincible! Why even go through the race? You’d proven your stamina and were proud of your progress. Why participate? Why? Because of the prize! You must not focus upon the past successes – they might cause you to place false hope in “self” causing you to drop your guard, making you vulnerable and subject to every whim that might come along the way.
No, TODAY is the race! It is NOW. The failures and successes of the past no longer exist! NOW IS THE TIME! It is a fresh, NEW BEGINNING! And as the gun goes off you strain towards the finish line. You cannot see it; you do not know how far it is; you do not know the obstacles that lie ahead – but you strain with every fiber of your being – focused upon the prize!
And you finish - in SECOND PLACE - AND WIN!
But how can this be?
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.Prov. 3:5,6
But made His own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.Ps. 78:52
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.Is. 58:11
And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, Who hath not left destitute my master of His mercy and His Truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.Gen. 24:27
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.Is. 42:16
To Him the Doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out. When He puts forth all His own, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice.John 10:3,4
For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our Guide even unto death.Ps. 48:14
He Who crosses your finish line FIRST, [HE] designed your course, [HE] paid your price [HE] made the sacrifice, [HE] goes before you – to guide you, to protect you, to clear the path, to restore your soul, to encourage, to refresh, to strengthen, to carry, to console, to draw you closer to HIS prize!
May we all one day say with Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing.2 Timothy 3:7,8
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2