As mothers, if we were to be truthful with ourselves, we would have to admit that, at one time or another, we have learned valuable lessons from our children. I have been amazed at times the ability my children have as educators, especially when they were small. One lesson in particular that stands out for me involves my oldest child, my precious daughter.
This story comes from several years ago when Jessica was just entering junior high school. She had always been active in sports, so, when she decided to go out for the track team, it did not come as a great surprise. She had always been very small in stature, and, because of this, I feared for her safety; but, running track seemed to be safe enough, so I consented.
Jessica had not been practicing with the team long before the coach decided that she would be best suited for long distance running - mainly, the 3200 meter. She was not totally happy about this. She would have much preferred a shorter feat, but she agreed and began her conditioning. As the time neared for their first meet, Jessica assured herself that there was no way she would ever finish the race let alone win. I think she even prayed for rain the day of the event. There was no rain, however, and it was time for her to take the field with the others. As she approached the start, Jessica told her dad that it didn't matter if she won the race; she just wanted to cross the finish line.
The gun went off, and the race began. We watched as Jessica rounded each curve until, finally, the first lap had been made. Only seven more to go. It wasn't long before a few of the girls began to slow down and, then, eventually, to come to a standstill. Two of the girls became violently ill and had to be carried off the track; others stopped and sat down along the side. Jessica kept going, her determination growing stronger.
Finally, the race was over; Jessica had crossed the finish line. No, she had not won but she did realize her goal. When I welcomed her, she was still gasping for breath. Her face was red, and she was quite ill. I then noticed that her right arm and her shirt were bloody. Upon further inspection, I saw a very large abrasion that was caused by her arm rubbing against her uniform as she ran. It was obvious the pain this must have caused her, but she was completely unaware of it. She had had her mind and all her attention fixed on completing what she had started. She would finish the race no matter what.
My heart was overwhelmed. I began to wonder how many things I had started and never finished because I thought they were too hard or I just didn't think I had the ability to see it through. Even in my spiritual life I was guilty of this. My daughter had indeed taught me a valuable lesson. I then began to remember Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day ..." There are times in our lives when we think things are just too difficult to continue. We want to give up, throw in the towel. It is those times when our faith is truly tested, whether or not we can "fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith." We're told in Revelation 2:10, "... Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
Although Jessica did not win the race, she did finish it. Because of this, she received her reward, the reward of fulfilling her dream. We, too, will receive a reward if we fight to the end. Our reward will be heaven, and what better prize could there ever be? -1301 West Virginia Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26104.
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