Reaching the Finish Line - The Shoreline Church
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Reaching the Finish Line

Reaching the Finish Line

I know all of you were just as excited as I was for last Sunday. It was a big day. I recorded it so I could watch it later. No, I am not talking about church, even though Matt Mullis did a great job leading worship. And, no, I am not talking about Shoreline 101, even though we had 21 people there for our first membership class.
The New York City Marathon was Sunday morning. I recorded it live, and then I watched it later that afternoon. That’s when you know you are a running nerd, when you watch a recorded marathon instead of the NFL. I enjoyed the whole thing!
Watching a major marathon—one I have completed—was familiar, and it took me right back to Chicago, where, in October, I completed the third of the six major world marathons. Running a marathon takes you through a host of emotions, particularly during those last six miles. The Chicago Marathon was no different.
During those last few miles, I really tried to be present and soak in the emotion and feelings of the day. (For those who don’t know, it was a rainy and windy day, so I was pretty much soaked on the outside as well.) As I neared the finish, I was overwhelmed with an awareness of the people all around me competing in the race. Everyone had a different story to tell, and they all were striving for the same goal as me.
Along those last few miles, there were people in varying stages of marathon running. I say marathon running, because the race is 26.2 miles long and different than most road races. During those miles, people were trying to finish. I saw people stopping to stretch exhausted muscles. I saw men and women limping as they walked. I saw all kinds of different gaits: no arm-swing; too much-arm swing; heal strikers; mid-foot strikers; and fore-foot strikers. Runners were walking, struggling, flourishing, and doing anything they could to finish.
It was at that moment when I got a real vision of what the gates of heaven must look like to God. All of us are competing—we are running our race in Christ, living as followers of Jesus. Some of us are limping in, beaten down by the world but holding fast to our faith. Some of us are thriving in discipleship, growing closer to Jesus with every day. And still others are run-walking their way to Zion, succeeding and failing in a daily struggle. But we are all moving in the same direction.
God sees us all moving at our own pace…the pace He is coaching us to run. We limp. We walk. We run. We may even stumble. But we move steadily toward the goal. No matter where you are on this journey to God, run your race. Know that the pace God is calling you to is the correct one and the best one for you. It doesn’t matter your place when you hit the finish line; it only matters that you made it there. With God’s strength and direction, we can run our individual race and achieve the victory.
Blessings to you,
Joe
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