Have you ever seen a toddlers’ race? At the end of the school year there’s a school sports day here in England where the children compete in various races and the parents come to watch.
At the end there is usually a race for the toddlers that have come with their parents to watch their older siblings.
When the race is called, one of the toddler’s siblings will run over and take hold of their hand and lead them to the starting line.
Caps are flung aside and shoe laces tied so that nothing will hinder them. The whistle is blown and off they set.
Some are so tiny, they have only just learnt to walk and their steps are uncertain so they cling hard to their brother or sister and are usually half lifted off the ground as they cling on, their little legs going as fast as they can.
Others, a little older just need a hand to hold to steady them, to stop them falling and to guide them in the right direction and keep them focused.
A few stubborn tiny ones will not want to hold a hand and they dawdle along, looking at the crowds, distracted and wandering off the track until someone comes and leads them back.
Then there are those who are four years old, the ‘big ones’ who will soon be starting school, still some will hold on for that extra help while others try to run alone with their sibling beside them cheering them on. Sometimes they’ll look up for reassurance then carry on, some will look around to see how others are faring and this will slow them down or they will stumble and fall. But when they look up for help there are always kind hands stretched out to pull them up and take hold of their hand to lead them and encourage them as they tearfully limp to the finishing line.
How are we running friends?
Have we thrown aside all the things that would slow us down, have we cast off the things that take our eyes off of Jesus and trip us up?
Are we picking up distractions instead of our Bibles or laying them down?
Are there those things that we enjoy too much to set them aside so we can run unhindered?
Are we going through each day with our eyes fixed on the prize, clinging to God in prayer to help us and lead us to the finishing line? Or are we looking about us, distracted by the world and its pleasures, or looking at others to see how well they are running and tripping up and falling?. These things aren’t necessarily bad but they are a huge problem when they turn our hearts and eyes away from Jesus.
Oh friends, the years I wasted, distracted by the world, dawdling along the way.
I was one of those that started the race but as time went on I was distracted by the busyness of life. I let go of my Saviour’s hand and lost sight of the prize.
I would glance from time to time at the finishing line, going through the motions of prayer and reading my Bible but my heart wasn’t in it.
I’d look for help when troubles came and now and then God in His love would bring circumstances that made me look up to him but I had lost my passion to win the race!
This was when God in His great love and mercy brought chronic illnesses into my life. It was only then, when like those little ones who were wandering along distracted and someone had to take hold of them, or like those that fell, God opened my eyes and I realised that I couldn’t run this race alone. I needed a hand to guide me, a hand to keep me on the track, a hand to hold me up and stop me falling, One to lean on and look to for encouragement along the way.
It’s been hard but beautiful friends. Maybe like those toddlers that fell I shall literally go limping all the way to the finish line but if we run clinging onto Jesus, looking to Him to help and lead and guide us friends, we WILL reach the finishing line.
Have you been distracted by the world friends?
My heart aches to think of others wandering as I did and losing that close walk they had with God in the beginning.
Did you come but you have forgotten to ABIDE?
Or maybe you never truly started the race?
Are you wandering off the track because your eyes are on a screen more than your Bible?
Is there somebody in your life that you love more than God?
Would you be just as happy in heaven if Jesus wasn’t there, just so long as you have your family and you don’t go to hell?
Do your hobbies or other books allure you more than your Bible does? I’ve been there friend and Satan is often trying to lure me back!
Or maybe you’re TRYING to be a better person and you think you are running but you keep tripping and falling.
Oh precious friend, look to Jesus and ask Him to work in your heart and soul until HE is what you desire more than anything or anyone else. It may mean trials but it will also bring blessings.
Take hold of His hand in faith and prayer and ask Him to draw you near and hold you close and KEEP you close.
If you are striving hard to run this race but keep falling remember, we CANNOT run this race alone.
However much we grow in our faith we will always be a toddler and will always need a hand to hold us up and to guide us and keep us from falling. We’ll also sometimes need a chastening hand to pick us up when we become independent and try to do it alone and fall or to guide us back when we wander.
We cannot win by trying and striving to do better. The only striving we need to be doing is in prayer and by seeking to draw near to God through His Word, asking God to help us grow in grace and reflect His image.
To strive in prayer that we might abide In Him.
Yes, we have choices to make and we need discipline to live our lives in a right way but we CANNOT do this alone, we need a hand to hold, our Elder Brother, Christ to hold our hand, walk beside us and encourage us.
We will only win as we cast aside all distractions, as we keep its eyes fixed on Jesus, as we cling harder, lean harder and rely more and more on our Redeemer and Friend.
Let’s cheer each other on to the finishing line friends.