Recently, I started a running program. My main motive for running was to get into shape for a marathon. I have always wanted to run a marathon but, for some reason I never had the confidence that I could make it through. Yet, apparently, something has changed in my heart and in my mind that makes me believe that I am capable of accomplishing my goal.
Sometimes in the race I am running called life, I find myself without enough confidence that I can pull through. You must know what I am talking about. The struggles that we face in this world are like the wind and heat dragging us down in a race that can keep us from meeting the purpose God has set for us. In these times of trial, I find myself only giving half of myself to God lacking enough faith to believe He can carry me across the finish line. As I have been training to run a marathon, I have realized that if I am only giving half of myself to God, I can never accomplish the things He has set for me, and I will quickly give in to the things of this world.
God calls us to be vulnerable. He wants us to reach out for His hand and grab on with dear life. But, often it can be so difficult. The things that the world throws at us can really distract us from the ultimate goal of doing God’s will. There have been so many times I have wanted to quit and throw in the towel. But, there is something in my heart that keeps pulling me back to God. What is it that keeps me on the road striving to cross the finish line? That something is God’s desire to be our coach, keeping us motivated and in the race. His voice speaks to us and calls us toward Him when we least expect His help.
In times of trial, I often remember the verse from the book of James: “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” If I was always running through life without any hardship, I would never be able to draw close to God and experience His love, grace and mercy. I would always be in the front of the pack, thinking that my success was based on what I had done. However, when I face these challenges that pull at my heart and cause me to wrestle with God’s truth, it is then that I truly receive strength that comes from above not from within.
Just like running a race, there are times when I will feel like I cannot go any further. Instead of stopping and resting, I need to breathe in and run with all my might. The same is true in life. When the going gets tough, I am going to get running. I am going to run full force to my Father in heaven. The only way I can cross the finish line of life with success is if I follow in the footsteps of God. When I feel like I cannot run anymore, I will cry out to Him for guidance and motivation and I am sure I will make it. God designed us to seek Him with all of our being. It is no mistake that in times that are difficult we have a tendency to run to Him and call out His name. However, we need to start calling out to Him even when we are running down the smoothest hill at the greatest pace. Our love for Him and our reliance on Him can never cease. We must always be quick to praise His name and to give glory to Him for it is Him that pulls us through. When we cross the finish line, we must remember that we made it not on our own strength but on the strength that comes only from God.[Danielle M. Di Tullio is a 20-year-old physical therapy student at Northeastern University.]