We want to know the ultimate victory, but we stop within yards of completing the course! Don’t stop! Press on!
Track & Field Day | Press on!
A few years ago, I had the joy of watching my daughter participate in her school’s “Track & Field Day.” As any kid would, she went in wanting to win. In the days leading up to the event, she practiced/trained. The night before it would all take place, she leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I’m nervous about tomorrow daddy.”
And then the day was upon us.
Anna worked alongside her classmates to win the relay race and tug of war. She experienced the taste of defeat in the Class Bunny Hop relay. And, she barely came in fourth place in the individual 50 and 100-yard dashes.
At this point, she was mad. She wanted to win. She was tired of not getting the prize in the individual competitions. There was only one opportunity left, one chance to come in first. It was the most daunting race of all, the 250-yard dash.
Determined to Win
She went in with the mindset to win. Determination creased her brow as she propelled herself from the starting line. In the first turn, she began to separate from the pack, but there were two girls with a sizable lead on her. She began to close the distance, but, as of the next-to-last turn, second place was still eluding her by more than ten feet.
And then it happened, the girls in first and second took the turn wide, and Anna, keeping to the inside track, quickly closed the distance. In the last 50 yards of straight away, Anna pulled ahead by five feet, then ten.
It was a movie styled ending! Until, Anna stopped running just short of the finish line.
She Stopped Short
She saw it and thought she had arrived, but the prize was still before her. Anna had not taken hold of the victory.
As I reflect back on that frozen moment of time, I can’t help but think, we are just like her.
We want to know the ultimate victory and have been running with great determination. Surmounting the odds, we have found the prize. Seeing it, we want to know it intimately. But, we stop within yards of completing the course.
Paul’s Race | Press on!
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:10-14, NIV, Emphasis mine.
Paul had been running the race. His performance and accomplishments still impact our lives today. But, he knew the race was unfinished. Paul recognized there was more to be done because he had yet to arrive. He was aware there was more to obtain. So, he pressed on.
Run the Race | Press On!
Anna stopped short. The girls, she had worked so hard to pass were now closing the distance. If Anna didn’t start moving again, she would lose. The coaches started yelling. The parents joined the chorus. “RUN ANNA, RUN!,” echoed through the stands.
Today, the heavens resound with the chorus, “RUN MY CHILD, RUN!,” as the Lord encourages us to finish the race. We need to recognize we can’t stop yet! There is more to be done, more to obtain, more distance to traverse before victory.
Press on! Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!
Anna began to move again. She was already exhausted. It was hard to regain her momentum, but move she did. She pressed on and finished her race. Anna crossed the finish line still in first place. She won!
And in her course and determined effort, my daughter taught me this lesson which I now share with you:
(This post first appeared on Devoted Conversations in May of 2013. It has been updated and revised.)