The Associated Press published an article that was picked up in The Daily Progress, in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, December 5, 2015. It described an Illinois resident who has completed 78 marathons, including one in each of the 50 states of America.
Imagine the end of a marathon with 26.2 miles on your aching legs. As you slow to a stop after passing the finish line, and drink in water and gulps of oxygen, you may hear yourself making a promise (to yourself) to never do that again. But to runners like Michael Ahrens (featured in the AP story), that declaration has gotten broken many times, even more than 77 times in his case.
“There are points for people in a marathon when you are hurting and you tell yourself, ‘This is it. I don’t know if I can do this again,’” said Ahrens, age 64, quoted in the article. “But afterward, the agony kind of fades, and you remember the good things.”
Ahrens finished his 78th marathon last month, which put the cap on a decades long chase – to run a marathon in each state. He said it started with 50 states and now it’s onto the seven continents or all the state capitols.
Very little happens in life without a goal. Many of us have objectives for school, spring break, summer internships (after attending SICM of course), our social lives, family, and finally crossing the threshold to graduation. But all of us also need a spiritual aim worthy of our effort.
Read Joshua 14:6-15.
Caleb, one of the original twelve spies sent by Moses to check out the Promised Land (Numbers 13:1-30), was also one of two spies (the other being Joshua) to return with a positive report for Moses and the Israelites. Caleb early on believed God had power to do what He had promised and locked onto God’s promise to take His people from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Its been a road trip of forty years in the desert, with various wanderings, ups and downs, and victories and setbacks. Yet Caleb remained optimistic about God’s ability to move His people forward, defeat every enemy, meet all of their needs, and get them across the Jordan River.
When they finally reached Canaan and the edge of the Promised Land, Caleb was now 85 years old. He was just as ready as he was four decades ago to go in and possess the Land God promised and his inheritance. His steely-eyed determination was intact, his devotion to God was still passionate, and his words rang out with energy and faith in his God. He said to Joshua, “Give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day,” (Joshua 14:12).
Caleb should be commended and honored for a lifelong walk of faith. Scripture records he was man who “followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” (Joshua 14:14). What does it mean for you to follow the Lord wholeheartedly? If you adopt that goal, an arduous adventure of climbing mountains, overcoming adversity, and personal growth with God lies ahead.
Caleb remembered that it took Israel one night to get out of Egypt, but it took forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. Think theologically. No goal – no direction – no progress. No marathon is off limits, but living a faith-filled life like Caleb will cost you just as much in the long run.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz