“And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father, And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart fainted, for he believed them not. And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived: And Israel (Jacob) said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”Genesis 45:25-28
I used to run 5K races when I was younger, and will still run some when they are allowed to happen again. I love the 5K race as it does not take much time to prepare for and the agony only lasts 25 minutes or less. I once ran a half marathon, which was not too bad, but my body started to betray me at the end. I have run 5Ks in each season and there were some when I thought I left my soul on the course. I have run some on my birthday, Thanksgiving, and some in the streets of downtown Phoenix. There is nothing like that excitement you get from a race where you are excited to run and nervous because you are not sure how you will do.
My family has been supportive of me running these races even when it seemed like I would never make it to the finish line. They have made signs for me and encouraged me as I felt like I was going to die at times. I typically get ready right before the starting gun by doing some stretching and giving the kids and Rebekah a final salute. The race starts and I do my best to establish a pace that I can keep up for the duration of the race. I try to focus on the race ahead and not on the runners ahead or to the side of me. As the race draws to a close, I look to empty the tank. My family is usually at the finish line, and I can see the signs and hear them cheering. When I hear their cheers, it gives me a little bit more juice and I sell out and give my all as one who might never run again. In the midst of my agony, my heart is joyed to see my family as I know the end is near and their faces are pleasant to me as I struggle to finish.
When he was little, Nate would join me in the last 100 yards and try to catch me as I raced toward the finish line. At the time, he would get close but he would never quite beat me across. If we did it today, he would be far ahead as I have aged and he has gotten much faster. The joy of seeing my family at the end of an arduous race cannot compare with the joy Jacob felt to hear that his son, Joseph, was alive. Joseph, who was favored and thought to be dead, was very much alive and thriving. Jacob was at the end of his life, and he could not believe his son was alive and was recharged by this amazing news.
I think of the Christian walk and how at times we grow weary and faint as we run the race. I think of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be (grow) weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This verse alludes to the fact that we may grow weary in our race, much as Jacob did as he neared the end of his life and still grieved for his son. God’s Word encourages us to continue to press towards the finish line as we near the end, and we see that line get closer each day. We tend to slow down in this phase of life, instead of giving all we have as we get nearer and nearer to our final destination. May we be revived again to run the race with all that God has given us, and to resist the temptation to slow down as we near the end. People are “cheering” for you as you run, so run the race that is set before you.
Where are you today friend? Have you grown weary in your race? Have you slowed down or even stopped to take a break? Are you pressing on with your eyes focused on the One who died for you, or are you focused on the troubles in front and to the sides of you? May our spirit be revived as we near the finish line and the joyous reunion that awaits us when we will see Him face to face. Let us not faint with unbelief, but rest in the truth that, in due season, we will reap if we faint not. May God find us faithful and may we be faithful to the end.