After disappointment, joy!

Someone once said: “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”

It is true, as well, of the Christian life.

A sprint is one sustained burst of energy with a quick end.  But a marathon is a long run with many ups and downs.

I have never run a marathon, but I have read that the Boston Marathon has a hill toward the end called “Heartbreak Hill” because runners hit this obstacle when they have just about run out of gas.  Their energy levels are low.

But runners keep running the Boston Marathon because of the great joy and prestige that comes at the end.

I’m thinking of this because I have had ups and downs in my Christian life.  Periodically, I am down because things haven’t gone the way I think they should.  Indeed, sometimes I wonder what God was doing – another way of saying that I whine.

After one such occasion recently, I read Psalm 13 which caught my mood exactly.

The psalmist David begins by saying: “How long will you (God) hide your face from me?”

He goes on to say that every day he has sorrow in his heart.  His enemy is triumphing over him.  In fact, his foes will “rejoice when I fall”.

In effect, David is blaming God for his predicament.  He is saying that God doesn’t care for him.

In my mind, I try to avoid being as honest and direct as David is in this psalm.  Yet I have to admit that sometimes my thoughts run along those lines.  I wonder why God doesn’t work things out the way I think he should.

There is a temptation to give up when faced with baffling – sometimes tragic – events.  But God wants us to hang on because the rewards are eternal.

David saw this despite his funk.

He concludes his psalm with these uplifting words:

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord because he has been good to me.”

How can he switch gears so quickly – from the depths of despair to rejoicing?  Because he is a man of faith.  He takes the long view – the marathon runner’s view.

He has experienced God’s love in the past.  He rejoices in the fact that God has chosen him to be his child.  He remembers the many good things God has given him.

These are great reminders for me.  These truths help me to be a marathon runner in the Christian life.

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