Are you familiar with the story of the marathon runner in Mexico City at the 1968 Olympic games?
Hours behind the runner in front of him, the last marathoner finally entered Olympic stadium. By that time, the drama of the day’s event was almost over and most of the spectators had gone home.
But the story of Tanzanian marathoner John Stephen Akwari was still being played out.
Limping into the arena, Akwari grimaced with every step, his knee bleeding and bandaged from an earlier fall. His ragged appearance immediately caught the attention of the remaining crowd, who cheered him on to the finish line.
Why did he stay in the race? What made him endure his injuries to the end?
When asked these questions later, he replied, “My country did not send me 7,000 miles away to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish it!”
We may be exhausted, limping, or wounded right now from an earlier fall.
We may feel like there’s is no way we can go on to the end.
But there are witnesses cheering us on, and God didn’t send us this far just to begin.
He brought us here to run the whole race!
So, let’s get up, brush off the dirt and keep going. He will give us the strength.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
–by George Whitten