Imagine this…you have entered a half marathon. It’s just a test run for you to see how you do with the crowds, your gear, the weather, and to see what your time might be. Next month you will be running a race that will qualify you for the Boston Marathon, so, although this isn’t the big race, you’re still going to give it your all. You’ve got your strategically planned running mix playing in your ear buds. You had a strong start. You’re feeling great…you are in the zone.
You check your watch and notice you’re doing pretty good, so you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. After a while, you check your watch again but this time notice that you’re getting close to your target time and haven’t seen anything, no signs, no crowds, no indication that the finish line is close. Now you’re obsessed with checking your watch because you need to make your time. The next time you check your watch, you notice you’re way past your target time. Your heart sinks. You feel discouraged, disappointed, defeated.
A race official shows up on a bike and says, “You’re doing great! You’re only 10k away from the MARATHON finish line!”
That’s when you realize you took a wrong turn!
It can be extremely painful when you feel like you’re close to the finish line, but then it doesn’t show up when you expect it to. When you expect to be finished with a dream project at a certain time…when you expect to be recognized for something you’ve done or are doing…when you have battled cancer and the doctors are certain you will beat it but it hasn’t happened yet…
Maybe you feel like that right now. Is there something happening in your life that you feel like you’ve worked so hard for and you are expecting a big payoff or reward or recognition? Have you past the time when you thought you were going to make it? Did your hard work go unrecognized or unrewarded?
Perhaps you took a wrong turn.
If that is the case, I’d like to be the “race official” who shows up and says, “Hey! You’re doing great! Keep going! You’re getting closer to an even bigger achievement!”
Because here’s the thing, wrong turns aren’t always bad. Sometimes those turns introduce us to new people, new experiences, new lessons. Sometimes those so-called wrong turns help us discover strengths that we never knew we had. Sometimes they test our perseverance and faith.
When Meredith Fitzmaurice realized that she was only 10k away from the finish line, she said her adrenaline kicked in and she just kept going. It wasn’t until the crowds started cheering and high-fiving her that she realized she was the leading woman in the race. She was the first woman to cross the finish line and the 10th competitor overall – a finish strong enough to qualify her for the Boston Marathon!
But this is my favorite part of the story: when Meredith crossed the finish line and realized what she had done, she cried and hugged the official who had ridden with her for the last six miles of the race. She said, “Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
I have a race official that sticks beside me every day…through every wrong turn, on rough roads, hills, and even on the smooth downhills. His name is Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Jesus is there beside me. He has been through all the ups and downs with me. He has endured temptation, pain, discouragement, betrayal, scorn, and persecution. But He defeated it all and no matter which way I go, He’s there telling me, “You’re doing great! Keep your eyes on me! Keep going!”
Read all about Meredith Fitzmaurice’s store here: dailymail.co.uk