The ancient and wise philospher, Chumbawamba, once said
“I get knocked down, But I get up again, You’re never going to keep me down”
I have been amazed at my journey so far this Lent. I don’t know what it is this year that is making things so different for me. Maybe it’s the trials and wounds of the last few years. Maybe it is because in a few months I turn 40 and it’s forcing me to take a real look at my life. Not in a “I need to buy a corvette” kind of way, but instead with an understanding that truly each moment counts. Where am I headed?
The apostle Paul said this in Phillipians 3:12-14
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I wonder how many moments of my life can be defined by not pressing on to posses the perfection for which Christ first possessed me. Now, I am not talking about ditching netflix or refraining from mindless things. I am talking about the recognition that this “race” set before me matters. My growth in the Lord matters.
I came across a youtube video yesterday that I had seen before, but this time the Lord spoke to me through it.
It was the story of Great Britain’s 400m runner Derek Redmond, whose hamstring snapped during his event but was determined to finish the race at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.
He never won a medal. Never made it into the finals. The footage shows him wincing in pain crippled on the ground as the runners next to him get a far distance ahead. Miraculously he stood up with an agonizing pain on his face and hobbled with one leg towards the finish line. When you watch the video it is much more heart wrenching than the written word because you can see every ounce that it took for derek to do what he did. He had made a promise to himself and his father that no matter what we would finish the race. Nothing would stop him.
He got half way and balled his eyes out… Suddenly he felt relief in his battle worn stride as his father ran on to the track, put his arm around derek and helped him finish the race.
I find it interesting that nobody remembers who won this race, but this man who lost it is etched into history.
I love that this same phenomenon happens in the backwards economy of the kingdom of God. The last shall be first.
Jesus set the race before us. This journey towards being more like him, growth, and life-change. However it is OUR choice to run.
Derek fell down… And then pressed on.
Paul fell down… And then pressed on.
Nowhere in the verses paul Writes does he say “sit still… wait”. Even waiting on the Lord requires movement. We still press on to grab hold of who Jesus designed me to be… reaching towards eternity.
Do you recognize what things make your spiritual hamstring snap? What takes you down?
I know my triggers. In my anxiety and insecurity words others say matter. I forget to trust I am who GOD says I am and instead hear the echo of others words rattling in my mind and heart. So I get stuck. I lapse into my comfort zone. I begin to believe lies and somehow convince myself that I need to jump into another persons “lane” in order to defend myself.
This has been wrecking me lately, because I am tired of having my hamstring snap and slamming to the floor. After years of getting wounded a person becomes desensitized to the stabbings instead of pressing on in order to heal or fight.
Then God showed me some things in that video of Derek I never saw before.
- This is NOT a footprints in the sand cute poem. It’s real life and in this race set before us God doesn’t pick us up and carry us. He doesn’t swing in an force anything on us.
Matthew 11:28 ~ “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
He brings rest and relief from the difficult journey. He puts his arm around us and helps us as we hobble wounded. Then He takes that natural moment of a friend helping another friend and He makes it supernatural as the “great physician” heals our wounds, stops the bleeding, and repairs our “muscles”. He does this as we press on. It is not easy, but every morning we have a choice. Am I willing to trust God and press on?
- In order to walk forward with Him in FREEDOM I need to leave the past behind. Typically our options for the past are ignore it or hug it. Jesus says to cast all your cares on Him. Let go what won’t let you grow.
- I never saw it before but At the end of the video footage from derek’s “triumph”, official after official come up and try talking to the dad. One of them is clearly saying that he can’t be there and needs to let go of derek. The father yells at each of them, waves his hand at them and tells them to go away. I have no clue how I never saw that, but isn’t that like our God. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His presence. No weapon that is formed against us can win. The Lord is with us and in Jesus name the enemy and whose who try and convince us we can do life without Him need to leave!
Sometimes life is so hard.. But don’t quit!
There are times when nothing seems to go right and you wonder where God is in it all… He is Emanuel God with us.. He is right there with you.
Your feelings, beliefs and awareness do not determine his faithfulness.
HE JUST IS FAITHFUL..
So we can have an attitudee of expectation and assurance that God is who he says he is. We need an attitude that presses on and wants more, but is patient with God’s timing. This is a journey and not a sprint. We have so many things along the way to learn.
Paul wrote this section about 25 years after that day he was knocked off his horse. Notice he is still in process. Still working on his growth in Christ.
This is a lifelong goal. When we make a choice to follow Christ our life is no longer our own.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20