Nearing the End of This Race

Reaching. Stretching. Straining. Dreaming. Dancing. Running.

That last flat line before rounding the final curve. End pressing in. Time falling faster. Breath coming harder. Track disappearing beneath moving feet. Blurred motion. Blowing hair.

Do more. Be more. Give more.

It’s the almost-but-not-quite. The here-but-not-yet.

Holding and letting go.

Close enough to touch and taste.

Almost missed.

Fleeting.

Dear ones, this is my life. Unless God leads otherwise in the next short weeks or months, I will round the homestretch and finish this piece of my life’s race. It’s not the end, just possibly an ending to another race.

It’s been a bittersweet ride.

God’s Spirit-wind has carried me places I never would have gone on my own. His fire has burned brighter in my soul than the light of a thousand floating lanterns on a river. His love has kissed my tears, his hands have held my heart, and his goodness has followed me—and will follow me—until the last day of my life takes me into his open arms.

But it’s also been so dark. So incredibly dark. Scary. Sad. Lonely. Forgotten.

Loss and pain have been thicker than cream. The darkness was palpable at times. Sadness was closer than family or friends. The winter snows covered the howls of a broken, questioning heart. Breath choked. Eyes red.

It was no four hundred years, but it was very nearly four hundred days of silence from a God who seemed to have forgotten or refused to forgive. Hunted, driven, broken by the same God who creates, walks with, and heals. The juxtaposition was nearly too much to bear at times.

But Hosea’s God, Job’s God, Joseph’s God, and King David’s God is also my God. And the forgotten will be found. The broken will be healed by the same hands that wounded. Life conquers death. Darkness of prison replaced with the light of Presence.

This is my God.

This God takes my breath away at his compassion, love, gentleness, greatness, holiness, humbleness, beauty, and joy.

He never hated me or loathed my life as much as I did. Not once.

It was the all-consuming fire of His Presence that refused to let me just be the me I’ve always been. He took me through deep waters and saved me just before the oceans He’d created filled the lungs He’d also created to be a habitation for oxygen not water.

His hand both relentlessly pushed me deeper while also continuing to pull me higher. I thought I was dying and violently thrashed and scratched at Him to not kill me.

Live. I just wanted to live.

And that’s exactly what He wanted me to do too. Only His means and objective didn’t exactly look like mine. I was crying for comfort and resolution, and He was telling me that that’s what He had come for—to redeem a lost people that would fully know the comfort of His Presence and the ultimate resolution found in His graciously extended forgiveness.

That?

That.

It was never about how well I could swim on my own in the midst of severe storms. It had nothing to do with performance. Nor was it about how fast I could run by myself, how hot of fires I could tough out alone, or how long I could sustain air in lungs I had no control over.

Never that.

This. It has always been about Jesus. Always about being made more into the image of this Savior King. Always about Him, and not at all about me—except where my holiness was concerned. My life is hidden in him. Safe. His overflowing joy spills over to me. Free. Full.

And this: Jesus loved me then in the darkness, Jesus loved me during the happy times, Jesus will still love me when this race ends, and Jesus will love me when faithfully—albeit hesitantly, at times—I enter His next race for me.

Dear ones, you will not disappear—except in Him. You will not die—except to yourself.

You are loved far beyond your craziest dreams.

Run your race with endurance, looking only and ever at Jesus. He is a prize worth pursuing with your very life.

As for me? I hope to finish the final weeks or months as a good soldier of Jesus Christ in the footrace He called me to.

The end of this stint will be here in a flash. And then it will be on to another race, another season, another chance to die and really live. In Him.

Wind in the face. Tears streaking down cheeks. Open arms waiting around the final curve.

Jesus, this final stretch is Yours.