Sunday, November 13, 2005

Running the marathon

I've just come back from a lovely church 'weekend away'. The speakers were missionaries out in Asia. We were looking in Hebrews 12 and how we are to 'run the race'. This was compared with running a marathon. There were also many references to Eric Liddell made famous in the film 'Chariots of Fire'.

I first met the speaker many years ago in Bangkok on a mission trip. He later came to speak at my university and impressed on me the need to 'travel light' for those who are preparing to go into missionary service. I have taken that advice very literally. I left Singapore in 1991 with one suitcase to go into full-time Christian ministry.

We sang the song 'Majesty' (Worship his majesty, unto Jesus be all glory, power and praise ....) and immediately it took me back to a Varsity Christian Fellowship camp on the beach back in Singapore, O, so many years ago.

The question heavy on my mind was 'Where are all my mates from the Christian Fellowship all those years ago belting out the 'glory and power of God'? Are they still in this long marathon we run? How many have done a 'Paula Radcliffe' and given up on that kerb in Athens? How many more had returned to run even when the going has got so very, very tough?

Where are those friends who have risked discipline from school principals (head teachers) and parents (to the point of being thrown out of their homes) in order to practise their faith?

There have been many ups and downs in my own life too. There have also been many temptations to stray along the way. I have been very blessed that there have been friends and teachers along the way to sustain me. I don't think I have been 'stronger' than most, but I've learned that I am allowed to be angry.

There have been many times when I had been 'angry with God', just pouring out my pain in tears. Most recently it was over my husband's debilitating illness that had caused so much uncertainty in our lives. It was impossible to make plans when we knew that husband could go to bed one evening and finds it impossible to get out of bed the following morning.

I was angry, SO VERY ANGRY, and fearful, yes, that too. But I was angry with a God who also said that He will be my Rock.

Praise the Lord, O my soul. Let all that is in me praise His Name!

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

"He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Isaiah 40:28-31

Help me, Lord, to keep running this race.

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