The other day as I was finishing up my workout, I felt like my lungs would give out on me. My parched state threatened to get the best of me, forcing me to conclude my workout earlier than anticipated. Every third minute or maybe every 30 seconds (it felt like three minutes had passed), I would have to remind myself that I was so close to reaching the goal of completing the workout I was doing. The last 30% of the workout felt like it lasted forever and it was a matter of either giving into everything in me begging me to end the task at hand or push through every plea of my body. I’d like to say the choice was easy to make but with every step, one more appeal to quit was made.
What kept me going was the little notification that would pop up telling me how far I had to go, which compared to what I had already completed, seemed easy. It wasn’t. That final push was the most difficult part of the entire workout.
When I finally did reach the goal, I was amazed. I looked at how much I had done and suddenly all the strain and pressure to give up before I reached the end was replaced with the feeling of overcoming and finishing strong.
Although the last 30% was harder than the whole workout up until this point and my ability to push past the pain was growing dimmer each moment, I closed my eyes, said a prayer for strength, and gave the final stretch into God’s hands. Then the coolest thing happened, He brought me through. I imagine it was like I had given my all, and when I was ready to give up completely, that is where the Lord came to my rescue and took me the rest of the way.
Asking God to help me did not just make the final distance easier, but I knew that it was possible, despite the pain crying out for me to stop the torture I was causing myself. I realized that by prayer and surrendering my pain to Jesus, I could reach the finish line that seemed so close, yet so far. And it was the longest 30% of my life but I finish strong because I didn’t finish in my strength but God’s!
Have you ever felt like this? Like you would not be able to reach your goal because your physical state would win against your will to persevere? Have you ever felt like you want to just give up because what is ahead looks impossible to overcome?
It is in those moments when everything is telling us to give up, that hope whispers, “you’re almost there, don’t give up now. It’s all going to be worth the pain if you just keep going!” However, when every fiber of our being is screaming to stop, it can be hard to hear the tiny voice saying the opposite.
But something important to remember is that when we are almost at the finish line, that is when everything we face becomes the most challenging. It is when the sun is about to break through that the clouds seem that much more unbearable. It is right before the top of the mountain finally comes into view that the path seems the steepest and roughtest.
When we reach the end though, doesn’t victory seem that much greater? Doesn’t the road we traveled down up to this point seem so far behind us once we reach the peak? Doesn’t water taste so much sweeter after being in the desert for so long?
So when we are faced with obstacles and opposition, may we remember that breakthrough, the thing we were striving and reaching for is closer than we know.
I want to challenge you right now to think of something in the past you had to deal with or go through and I want you to think about how it was that you got through that season. It wasn’t because you had the determination although that played a part. It wasn’t because you are strong although you are. It was the abundant grace of a God who takes us through the fire because He knows our dross holds us back and takes us through deep waters because He knows the devil can’t swim.
Where we are now, is solely because God loves us so much that He takes us to higher heights and further horizons by asking us to trust Him in the process, no matter what that looks like. A cool thing about the Lord, is He will NEVER take you 70% of the way only to leave you for the last 30%. He will not do that! Ever! Instead, our God will take you as far as you can go physically and then take you the rest of the way in His strength. It is when we reach our limits and cannot go any further that Jesus takes our burdens, our weakness, our tired state and grants us his supernatural strength to finish the race we started. We can only complete the race in the strength and grace of our God, a God who runs the remainder of the way with us on His back.
So now let me to leave you with a few questions:
What is it you are moving towards right now?
What will it take to get there and at what cost?
Are you willing to push past the pain and difficulty of getting there?
Despite everything telling you to stop now while you are ahead, can you hear the little whisper of hope pushing you to keep going?
When you can go no further, remember that there is a strength in you that is not your own; you have the strength of Jesus inside you. In his strength, nothing is impossible and the pain you feel now, will be worth it all. Don’t give up, for you are so close and after you cross the finish line, you will be stronger in the Lord because He brought you through!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
“And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance;”
“Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,”
I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.