one striving for God's reign to come to earth, bringing his peace, wholeness, completeness, and health to all aspects of life.

The Finish...

I heard a commentary on ESPN Radio today, where the speaker was talking about a recent vacation he and his family took.  He talked about how the vacation was excellent, the kids had a great time, no one got hurt, it was a great bonding experience, etc.  They had nothing but positive emotions related to the vacation.  Then they got on the plane to come home with their 1 year old, and everything changed.  The way the vacation ended, he said, totally colored the vacation as a whole.  How quickly those fun times were forgotten as they stumbled into the house exhausted from the trip home!

He went on to relate this to the US Open golf tournament which was played this past week, where a golfer was absolutely dominating through the first three rounds of the tournament.  He looked calm, made all the right decisions, and just generally was the best golfer on the course.  Yet in his final round he completely bombed, shooting an 11-over par.

These things made me consider the finish in our relationship with God, and how really this is all that matters.  The start is crucial to getting us on the journey, but it is only the start.  And anyone can start.  Very few can say with Paul, "I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

So you were really close to God a few years back?  Great.  You used to study the Bible all the time, so much so that you still remember TONS about the Bible?  Cool.  You have always been known as a very devoted follower of Christ by all your friends?  Fantastic.  But are you still running the race?  Are you still seeking God?  Are you still in relationship with him, communing with him on a regular basis?  I know these questions have been very humbling and challenging for me to consider, for it is so easy to sort of "ride the wave" of your spiritual past, forgetting that God is not dead.  On the contrary, he is very much alive, as alive as your spouse or your child.  And he is not interested in the past of our relationship with him, good or bad, nor is he even too interested in our future relationship; he is interested in the present, the here-and-now, daily walk with him he longs for us to have.

May you not merely begin the marathon of faith, and may you not fizzle out at mile 18.  Keep going.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Keep the faith.  And finish.  It is all about how you finish, and none of us know where the finish line is...