Time For God: May 27

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
In a marathon race, the finish line is a place of triumph, terror, and torment. Video clips show runners collapsing a few short yards from the ribbon. Others, in pain, stagger past the tape. Acts of unselfish behaviour emerge as one athlete assists another to limp over the line. My tears blend with theirs as I witness their sheer courage and persistent endurance. Their initial goal was to finish well; now it is just to reach the end. To reach their ultimate goal, athletes will utterly spend themselves.

Pain is a companion to all who fight to finish a race—just as it is in life. C.S. Lewis observes the effects of pain—its paradox and performance—in our daily experience: I have seen great beauty in some who were great sufferers. I have seen men, for the most part, grow better not worse with advancing years, and I have seen the last illness produce treasures of fortitude and meekness from most unpromising subjects.

The Apostle manifests exactly those treasures of fortitude and meekness as he strives to reach a good ending, to keep the faith, and to fight the good fight. Without the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, it is impossible to aptly fulfill our Christian calling.

Charles R. Ringma rightly observes: This gift of the Spirit is no little impartation. It is not a mere add-on. The Spirit is going to be bucketed over us. We will be drenched. Immersed. Saturated. In this gift lies the promise that the work of renewal is not simply our work. It is not our self-effort. It is what God will do. Others will see it, too.
I see Jesus in you! Her comment floored me. What? Me? Are you kidding me? Plainly not—she was fully sincere. Now that’s the miracle of grace! A sinner saved by grace through—even flimsy—faith finds it hard to hear and trust affirming words. Yet God fulfills Himself in his Word, His people’s broken lives, and in the beauty of creation.

Sophy Obuya says: We can rest in hope and peace as we wait for the final fulfillment, because we know we will rest, one day, in a city where all that was ever wretched and ruined will have far greater glory than we have ever known. A new day is coming. We keep the faith by God’s achievement—not our own. By His grace, we finish our race.

What causes you to stumble as you fight the good fight? In your race, how do you look to the Lord to help you finish well? What sustains you in keeping the faith?
Gracious and Holy Father, give us the wisdom to discover You, the intelligence to understand You, the diligence to seek after You, the patience to wait for You, eyes to behold You, a heart to meditate upon You, and a life to proclaim You, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.          
[Benedict of Nursia, 6th Century]
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