Recently in Chicago, on a hot humid morning, I found myself discovering the reality of Kingdom principles. The incredible power that is available to me when I have fully relied on the strength of the Lord to sustain me always comes in a spiritual exchange for my human weakness.
For over twenty years I have been an endurance runner, participating in many races including full marathons. This year, I heard the Lord call on me to train and participate in a triathlon. This request put me in unfamiliar territory and out of my comfort zone. In the Bible often the endurance race is used to parallel our spiritual journey. I have experienced this many times, and this time was no exception. The Holy Spirit used the process of triathlon training to shape and refine my character.
The moment I agreed with the request of the Lord, the process began. In the natural it looked like a lot of hours of swim, bike, and running practice. I was continually stretched beyond anything I was comfortable with or had experience in. Many long hours of training were also spent in dialogue with the Holy Spirit as He was doing a new work in me. Outwardly it looked awkward and I often wondered what this season was about. Many times the process was difficult and strenuous and left me exhausted.
When the day of the race arrived there were circumstances to push through that were not ideal. Nothing about the process came easy and the race seemed to be unfolding in the very same pattern. I experienced physical pain, my bike malfunctioned making it extra difficult to compete and the weather temperature was close to 100 degrees! Everything in me wanted quit, yet I knew I had been asked by the Lord to compete in this race. I felt I needed to press on, not to drop out , but to cross the finish line.
It wasn’t until I finished the race and received the finishers medal when the Lord gave me His perspective.
He reminded me of the day I had signed up for the race and how I had committed the process to Him. I had said I would do this for His glory, not mine. Even though I had forgotten those words, He had not! He is faithful because that is His very nature. I had made a spiritual agreement with the Lord and His faithfulness to the word sustained me, even when I had forgotten and grown weary in the process. I had committed my way unto Him. I had agreed with 1 Cor.10:31 and done it all unto the glory of God. Because I chose to partner with God it became impossible to fail. Even when I was exhausted and beyond my own abilities to function, His word was truth. In my weakness He is strong.( 2 cor.12:11)
This was the very place I needed to be, emptied of myself, fully relying on the Lords strength and pressing on towards the finish. Romans tells us that endurance produces character. It is in these moments when my soul is crying out to quit and I still press on that produces such character.
I had many moments in the process of wanting to give up. However, I kept saying to myself, “It’s only a triathlon“, and in the context of the hardships and sufferings of others this doesn’t compare. Yet this is the very tool the Holy Spirit chose to use to perfect my character. It is the big and little things. If we commit ALL our ways to Him, He will use it all. Nothing will be wasted. It all will become beauty refined in the fire of His glory and it is the crown that we lay before the feet of Jesus in honor of the One who is our true Victor!
Written by: Leslie Tracey
Published on: 9/12/18