Volunteering at the Tour of Missouri here in Sedalia, I had a great view of the finish line. Amazing athletes to be sure, some of the greatest cyclists in the world competed right here in our little town. The winning time for the nineteen mile time trial course was 36:30, averaging well over 30 miles an hour.
There is something grand and glorious about finishing, finishing strong, finishing well. Just to finish the course, on foot, on a bike, in a boat or a car, ignites the thrill and pride of accomplishment. And it feels just as good to finish a project or a plan, to fulfill a promise or pledge, to complete the job and achieve the goal. I think of the couple that have weathered the tough trials of marriage and family life and can now celebrate 60 years together. Or the young soldier who serves his tour, fights his way through countless battles, fulfills his duty, and finally makes it home into the arms of his family. And then there's the lonely missionary far from home, isolated from support and encouragement, enduring hardship and opposition, yet faithfully gathering a handful of new believers until finally a church is born.
Whatever seems too hard, too difficult, too much, too heavy, too steep, too long for you today, don't give out, don't give in, and don't give up. Keep going. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Your pain will pass. Your second wind will come. And the finish line may be much closer than you imagine.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)