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Finish Your Race

       "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:1, 2


       It was the Barcelona Summer Olympics of 1992. His name was Derek Redmond and he was favored to win the gold medal in the 400 meters.


       Derek had trained all his life for this moment!


       About 175 meters from the finish line he had taken the lead and his dreams were close to being fulfilled.


       Then suddenly Redmond grabs the back of his leg in what looks like excruciating pain, his right hamstring had torn. Hopping to a halt, dropping to the ground on one knee and then laying flat on his back in tears of devastation, his hopes and dreams appeared ended. The race seemed over.


       A medical crew arrives with a stretcher, Redmond tells them, "No, there's no way I'm getting on that stretcher. I'm going to finish my race."


       Then Redmond lifts himself to his feet, ever so slowly, and starts hobbling down the track. Suddenly, everyone realizes that Redmond isn't dropping out of the race. No, he is actually continuing on one leg. He's going to attempt to hobble his way to the finish line, all by himself.


       Slowly, the crowd, in total disbelief, rises and begins to roar. The roar gets louder and louder. A security man tries to stop him, to reason with him, but Redmond fought through, pushing him a side.


       Suddenly, his father seeing him in trouble leaps over the railing avoiding security guards and runs out to his son, with two security people chasing after him. "That's my son out there," he yells back to security, "and I'm going to help him."


       Jim Redmond reaches his son and wraps his arms around his waist. "I'm here son. You should stop. You have nothing to prove."


       "I have to FINISH this Dad."


       "All right, we'll finish together."


       His father placed Derek's arm over his own shoulders and arm in arm finished the race.


       When Derek Redmond crossed the finish line, all 65,000 spectators in attendance-as well as athletes and coaches and millions of viewers around the world-stood on their feet yelling, howling, cheering, some sobbing.


        Why? Because so many people can identify with someone like Derek Redmond, maybe you can too.


        You have set out to reach your goal only to have fallen short because of your own inadequacies or foolish decisions, sinful rebellion, or some paralyzing and crippling disease or disappointment. People with good intention try to help you off the track of your purpose and destiny. They tell you to take it easy. To settle down and to move on. To let it go. Yet something within you wont let you forget the aspirations you started with. And even though you lay crumpled under the weight of the tragedy in your life, you somehow struggle to fight. You get back up, hobble and try again. By God's grace you are going to finish your race.


       When you are suffering and struggling to reach your goal... There is ONE who sees you and comes down from on high to join you. He knows your struggle. He knows your pain. If you listen, you can even hear Him say, "We are going to finish this together."


       It is not too late. Your race is not over.


       With the embrace of your heavenly Father you can FINISH YOUR RACE!


With God Shouldering Us,


         Jim & Sally

                Jim & Sally Hohnberger
              Empowered Living Ministries