Milan Ford

*For the first time (in a long time), I am actually a little excited about next month’s Olympic Games.

Although I think the marketing and promotions for the games are probably the worst it’s ever been, not to mention the whole uproar on whether or not we (as a nation) should be protesting them or not because of China’s policies and persecution of Christian house churches, I still remain excited.

I’m excited because this year, NBC Studios has just announced that it will showcase over 2200 hours of live Olympic competition, as well as an additional 3500 hours of recorded competition…

…all on the Internet!

Now I know what you’re thinking: “What in the world has that got to do with what I’m going through today? I thought this was supposed to be a devotional…”

Well, let me explain.

Anyone who has ever watched television coverage of the Olympic Games will know that more often than not, only a few competitions ever are covered in their entirety. When it comes to fields like gymnastics or aquatics, the cameras rarely miss a beat. However, ask someone if they knew badminton was an Olympic sport, and they probably laugh in your face in unbelief.

By the way, it is.

I am sure you will agree that there is no greater example in the disparity of Olympic television coverage than with track and field. Some of the most watched and celebrated moments of Olympic history happen right on the track. The sprints. The hurdles. The relays.

Even the long jump and high jump competitions rank high among Olympic favorites. However, there is one competition that is probably the most avoided, and the less celebrated of them all.

I have to admit, it has long been my least favorite.
An event that for me was the epitome of boredom: The marathon.

Isn’t that just like life? If you run the fastest, the world celebrates you. If you can jump the highest, the world adores you. However, if you happen to run the longest, the world ignores you.

Good thing God’s ways are completely different. Look at what He says in Hebrews 12:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (sounds a lot like an Olympic stage to me!)…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Believe it not, God values endurance more than He values speed. Although it is not the most popular sport, our faith is in fact more like a marathon in the sight of God, than it is a sprint.

Sure, those that finish first are often celebrated. But how many couples have you seen get married before you, only to crumple because they ran too fast to the altar?

Or how many people do you know moved into a new house before you, only to have them go into foreclosure because they jumped too far beyond their price range?

Marathon runners are some of the best athletes in the world. Although rarely celebrated, their ability to discipline themselves and press beyond adversity through each and every race, is something that we all (as believers) should take notice of.

Although finishing first is something every marathon runner would love to do, that is not their primary goal. The primary goal (no matter the cost) is: to finish. To finish till the end.

I know the first six months of this year may have been tough, but guess what? It is only July.
This year is not finished. There is still a race going on.

And believe it or not, there is a brand new generation of Christians emerging who are no longer interested in quick finishes and short races. People want to see examples of people who can press through pain. Press through disappointment. Press through prolonged promises.

They are waiting for people (like you) who know how to finish. And if I were you, with over six more months left in this year’s race, I’d probably only have four words on my mind right now:

Let The Games Begin!

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