During my morning run, I ran eight miles: four miles out and four miles back. At the turn around, I had an epiphany of the significance of that point in my endeavor. To pilots, they refer to this area as the point of no return because to go on would mean there would not be enough fuel to turn around and return safely to where they took off, so crossing this threshold could mean life or death.
By no way am I comparing my running to embarking on any dangerous endeavor like flying combat missions, but the feeling you get as you pass the half-way point is palatable as you envision the end result. This feeling is only outdone by actually completing what you set out to do. As soon as you cross the finish line,all the preparation, blood, sweat, and tears are realized, but only once you cross it. There are no medals or awards for making it halfway and there are no participation ribbons to hand out to those who fail. The question I began to ponder was how many Christians have started the race, but have lost sight of the end goal.
As Christians, achieving half of what God wants us to do is not living up to our full potential. One of the greatest examples of not turning back comes from Captain Cortés first act after he landed in Veracruz in 1519 and gave the order to his men to burn the ships. What Cortés did was force himself and his men to either succeed or die. There are ships in everyone’s lives that need to be burned so they will leave the shore and begin doing what God has called them to do. For some, they have already left the shore and encountered hard times and have begun daydreaming about home and the ships left at port, which could take you there. Remember, it is never too late to burn the ships because anything that stands in the way of you accomplishing your God-given destiny needs to be burned!
I will say this to those of you who have acknowledged your calling and are engaged actively in pursuing what God has called you to do – at least you are in the race because many Christians experience a failure to launch and, “Houston we have a problem” is not going to help you get back on track. This failure to launch can be the result of many things like poor instruction at the point of salvation or allowing one’s own need for significance to outweigh the sacrifice Jesus paid for Christians to have abundant life.
There is victory and there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain that attempts to anchor us as captives to fear or doubt. There is a term in running called “DNF.” It means did not finish; this can be the result of injury, physical or mental breakdown, poor preparation, or simply giving up by lacking the will to go on. There has been a lot of articles and books recently about simply enjoying the journey of life and for very few that may be possible, because for the majority, they are left with the realization of how much life sucks the life out of you. Life is ultimately one of the cruelest teachers as death, disease, and addiction and countless other afflictions lead to painful detours in our so-called journey, as the destination and finish line are dangled in front of us like a carrot. Just when you think you see some light at the end of the tunnel, you find out it is a speeding train headed right for you.
If we are not careful, these detours and trials can easily become rest stations as we set up camp becoming content in our circumstances, all the while forgetting that Christ came to set us free. As believers, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. It is not by our power, but by the power of the Lord that we can fight through the trials and battles of this temporal world. In Christ, we are more than conquerors, so why have so many Christians allowed their circumstances to conquer them and why do they allow their mistakes to define them? I believe the primary reason is because they have forgotten, discounted, or ignored who they are in Christ; in His eyes we are precious and priceless.
God does not promise we will not go through trials or persecution; in fact, He tells us as believers we will experience even more by following Christ, but God also promises we will never experience more than we can take as long as we look to Him as our source of strength because it is in the Lord where our help comes from. There are many possible reasons God may allow us to bear more than we can handle on our own. Ron Edmonson provides some great examples like: so you will rely on Him, so you will call on Him, so you will have no choice but Him, so He can tell us things we would not know otherwise, so He can be gracious to you, so He can show His kindness and compassion, so He can restore your soul, so He can demonstrate His strength, so you will trust in Jesus – and the Father, so you can produce character and hope, so He can keep you from being self-reliant, so He can discipline His children, so God’s power may be revealed, so He can show our need for salvation and forgiveness, so He can comfort us, so we can learn to comfort others, so He can reveal His unseen workings, so He can demonstrate how all things work for an eventual good, so the Gospel might be proclaimed, and so He can draw prodigal children home.
If any of these hit home with you, I encourage you to not let fear, depression, pain, anger, or resentment to paralyze you anymore. Right now, simply acknowledge the goodness and mercy of God and praise Him regardless of your situation. So many times we pray for God to change our circumstances, all the while, He is trying to change us. God does not want us to stop halfway and He does not want detours to derail our God-given destiny. Never settle for less than God’s best and never let the fire and passion for serving the Lord to go out in your life because just as John wrote in Revelation 3:16 to the church at Laodicea, “So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” We must stop thinking our ways and thoughts are higher than the Lord’s and instead begin trusting God again because His word is true and He swears by His own name because there is no name higher. The healing, miracle, or breakthrough you are waiting on is right around the corner, so never forget your purpose and the power that resides in the name of Jesus!