This morning I got to watch my daughter race in a half marathon. Well, OK, I got to watch her leave the starting line and cross the finish line. A totally awesome experience! It got me thinking. Crossing that finish line was a single moment in time for her. Up to that point, she had never run 13 miles, but the moment she crossed that finish line she had, and behold, all things become new.
So, this got me also thinking about my son and all the things he has accomplished in the past couple of months. I won’t go into details, but slowly over the last several months, he has been changed from a youth seeking self-gratification into a young man with purpose and goals. Like me, he still has growing to do, but he too has experienced the truth of “behold, all things become new.”
I have seen, even experienced, moments where God moves so miraculously in our lives that in an instance everything is changed. I have seen hearts changed, experienced hearts changed, in the blink of an eye. I’ve seen grave illnesses healed seemingly instantly. God can move in any way He chooses. He is, after all, God. Sometimes, to get our attention, God does move in these ways. He knows how frail our faith can be and He moves in ways designed to bolster our faith. He knows we need to see His very real hand laying out a path before us, showing us He is in control.
But more often than not, He chooses to build us up over time, strengthening our faith in such a way that exercises our “faith muscles” each day. We often think of the “changed in a moment” experiences as mountain-top experiences. So lets look at the quintessential mountain-top experience. Moses went up Mount Sinai after leading Israel out of Egypt and he came back down with the Ten Commandments. What reads as a few pages in Exodus to us, was really forty days for Moses and the children of Israel. OK, for Moses, those 40 days in God’s very presence, I am sure, were timeless. Nonetheless, it was forty days. For Israel, it probably seemed like an eternity. Indeed, it seemed so long, they began to feel lost, and the need to take things into their own hands got so strong, they did the very thing they were told not to do. God had moved in miraculous ways to bring them out of Egypt, but this was the beginning of their endurance conditioning. This was the beginning of a forty year faith conditioning period that would teach Israel to trust God and have faith in His ways. During those forty years of wearing the same clothes and eating the same food, they learned to trust God, little by little each day until they were a mighty people trusting in an Almighty God able to deliver them to the promised land.
Even Moses had to experience a conditioning period. When he fled from Egypt for killing the Egyptian guard, it took him forty years to learn to trust God. It took forty years of listening to Jethro talk about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, forty years of learning to be a servant to sheep, a shepherd, forty years to hear Gods voice with the clarity of conversation, forty years to mend a broken heart. God was able to take a frightened, running man with a speech impediment and make him the leader of His chosen race. In reading this story, we see the instantaneous change that occurs from a mountain-top, burning-bush experience, but God sees the forty-year investment He made to bring Moses to that point.
Hannah didn’t start out running 13 miles. She gradually worked up to that point over months of training. Aaron didn’t start out with the wrestling team pinning every opponent with whom he entered the ring. I didn’t change my eating lifestyle and immediately lose the 60 pounds I need to shed (now 45, in case you are interested). On the other hand, there will be a moment that all of those 60 Pounds will be gone. There will be a moment when Aaron is victorious over an opponent that seems unbeatable today. And, there was a moment, this morning, when Hannah crossed the finish line and behold, all things become new.
Lord God, You are holy! Immeasurable in wisdom, power, glory, love and kindness. You are holy! Thank You for the opportunity to share that special victory moment with Hannah today. Thank You, for working wondrous works in our lives. Thank You that those works are fresh in our lives every day. Thank You for the miraculous works that show us Your Glory and Power. Thank You for the endurance works You lead us through that build our faith over time and make us strong and courageous. Lord, grant us the perseverance to run the race You lay before us in grace and love, and cross the finish line carrying our cross, counting it all joy!
In Jesus Name!