The Hard Times That Hurt You
Many of the world's greatest dramas are not on a stage or a screen, but they are played out in that quadrennial spectacle we call the Olympics. One year Britain's representative in the 400-meter race, Derek Redmond, went down in the back stretch with a torn right hamstring. As the medical attendants approached, Redmond fought to his feet and set out hopping, desperately trying to finish the race. He knew he wouldn't win, he was just trying to finish.
When he reached the final stretch, a man came out of the stands, pushed past a security guard, and ran to Redmond and hugged him. That man was Jim Redmond, Derek's father, and he said to him, "Son, you don't have to do this." Gritting his teeth and with tears in his eyes, his son said, "Yes, I do."
His father's reply, "Well, then, we're going to finish this together." Derek's head was sometimes buried in his father's shoulder, but they stayed in his lane to the end. When they crossed the finish line, the crowd stood to its feet, cheered, and wept as those two men finished the race.
Moses says to Israel in Deuteronomy 1:29-31 , "Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.'"
Maybe today you are tired, banged up, or stressed out, and like that 400-meter runner in the Olympics, you are staggering right now. You're having a hard time finishing your race. You started well, and you have been running hard, but you're about to go down. Maybe you have been hit by discouragement, illness, family trouble, a lack of support, or a lack of help. Maybe you've run into obstacles or pain and you are hurting, and there is still more of the race ahead of you. God wants to give you the good news that someone has left the stands to help you. He is coming to the track to help you finish the rest of the way.
It's your Heavenly Father.
God left the stands to come to the cross, and there He rescued us from the sin wounds that would have kept us from reaching heaven. He knows we can't make it alone. He is an all-powerful Father who offers to carry us, but we have to let Him. If we are too proud to collapse in His arms and surrender to His control, then our power is limited, and we're not going to make it. If we will totally release control to Him and, in the words of Scripture, humble ourselves, we will have all His power. Even little children know where the power is when they sing, "...they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me."
Each of us experience days when we just don't have any more to give. Maybe you're there now. It's those moments in the race that can take you deeper into the love and power of Jesus than you have ever been before. Your Father is not a spectator in the stands today. His arm is around you right now, where you are. Listen to His voice saying, "We're going to finish this together!"