For the past few weeks, I have been helping coach track at a girl’s high school. I coach the discus and the shot put, but I still warm up with the girls, and run with those that are not runners; encouraging them to run farther and longer than they may like to. Well, my encouragement sort of backfired when the coach that usually runs with the long-distance girls was not able to be at a practice this week. The head track coach is a little older than my dad and cannot run like he used to, so it is up to the younger coaches to run with the girls. And since I was the only young coach there at the time, I was the lucky winner.
Just so you know, I have never been a runner. I have been throwing shot put since I was eight and discus since I was about ten. My cardio consists of superset lifting. I am a thrower through and through. So, when the head coach asked me if I was in good enough shape to lead two of the girls for an eight-minute run, my mind said, “Hahaha, I am a thrower, I hate running,” but my heart and mouth said, “I will certainly give it a shot.”
Before my personal workouts, I usually do a warm-up jog of about two minutes, so bumping that up to eight minutes was a bit of a stretch. But I chose not to overthink it and I just started running with the girls. Before we had run that far, one of the girls asked if I liked running, and I said, “Not really, but I know it’s good for me.” As I look back at that reply, I see how I have overcome a lot of obstacles in life with that mentality.
I don’t really like school, but it will pay off someday somehow.
Church can be sort of time-consuming, but I know it’s good for my soul.
That looks so delicious, but I know I don’t need it.
I would love to just fit in, but I know that God made me to walk with Him.
It would be great to go straight home after work, but I know that this workout will be better for me in the long run.
I could just say, “No,” to this coaching position for the sake of time and self, but I know that God can use this time for His glory and grant me the wisdom and endurance to meet this challenge.
After going on that run, it struck me how I can do more than I think I can. Through the strength of Christ in me, I can conquer any obstacle; even running for a full eight minutes without stopping. I know that will not be the last time I have to run, whether physically or spiritually, but I know that God will give me the strength to do more than I ever thought possible. And I know that He can do the same for the girls I coach. Even if they are worried that they will never be good at any event, I will keep preaching truth to them; they can do far more than they think they can, and Jesus Christ can give them all the strength and wisdom they need to get over spiritual hurdles and even physical hurdles.
There are times in each of our lives when we must choose to overcome our fears or be overcome by them. In those moments of facing our fears, we can either say, “I’ll give it a shot,” or “You’re crazy;” either, “By God’s grace, I will do this or that,” or, “I don’t believe that God can help me or save me.”
Life is more than an eight-minute run; it’s more like an 80-mile run, without a single rest or break. Some people give up before the race is finished, having reached the halfway mark and forgotten that halfway is not enough. Some people don’t even bother running, choosing rather to satisfy their own selfish desires. And then there are some people who run the race until it is won and conquered, and they receive a prize that was worth every sacrifice.
It is easy to respond with sarcasm or doubt when faced with a spiritual hurdle, but it takes courage to respond in faith and say, “God can help me overcome, I will trust in Him.” Though certain things may seem impossible to us, like running an 80-mile race, dying to self, going to school, or being pure and holy, yet with Christ, all things are possible.
When I was a kid, I watched a short movie called, “The Little Engine that Could” (I know it’s based on a book, but the movie is more memorable for me). The climax of the movie is when the little train was facing a big, upward slope. Never before had he conquered that climb, but as he moved forward and up, he kept saying, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Finally, he reached the impossible summit; his efforts and belief in himself paid off. But unlike that little train, I often think I can’t, and even if I think I can, there is no guarantee that I will. But there is one thing I know, God can overcome anything; whether it is the hill ahead, an eight-minute jog, discontentment, a hardened heart, or sin. There is nothing my Abba cannot do.
Though life is hard, I trust that God is working all things out for His glory and my eternal benefit. It may hurt, but I will try to always respond with, “By God’s grace, I will not be moved. I will stand on the Rock that is higher than I. Though this may be impossible to me, yet I know my God can win… and He already has. Amen.”
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