Enter the Race…Win the Prize!

Two years ago, God saved my dad’s life three times in the span of two months! I’m so grateful God entrusted me to be the third family member to get my dad to the hospital on time. Once more, his situation was grave.  He was septic again, and the ER doctor pulled me out of the room to whisper that my dad was indeed very, very sick.  I prayed and slept, off and on that night, in a chair in his room in the ICU.  My heart hurt as I watched him try to rest.  How could he sleep with all the lights, voices, beeping, and painful poking and prodding?

The morning brought sweet relief, with news that he was pulling through, just as before. The doctors and nurses were amazed by my dad’s progress in battling a giant saddle pulmonary embolism, along with an aggressive cancer.  But it came as no surprise to me; for I knew that an army of Christians was praying for him, at least 500 prayer warriors. My dad had a positive attitude.  He is tough and brave, and he fought hard. But he belongs to God, so he didn’t have to fight alone.  God loves him, and He had a plan to heal him.

God had been helping me to battle my own anxiety and fear.   I was still working through it, during those three flights to Arizona that summer.  God did a great and mighty work in me. I felt His bubble of protection surrounding me; fear was unable to enter.  Without fear having the authority to sap my strength, I had energy to focus on ways to best help my dad.  I was able to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and give him the love and care he needed, so he could rest and heal.  Without lies clouding my mind, there was more room for discernment.  This helped me to be able to communicate well with doctors and nurses, in order to make the best possible medical decisions on my dad’s behalf. God also revealed many spiritual things to me, which are only understood through a relationship with His Son, Jesus.

I was never afraid the night I called the hospital, as I’d been instructed to do if his situation started going downhill.  Nor was I  afraid when I drove him to the hospital…but I drove with urgency. I talked to him, asking him questions, even though I knew he wanted to sleep.  Every couple minutes, I asked, “Are you okay?  Are you awake?”  I didn’t want to annoy him, but I needed to know he was still breathing.  As I drove, it suddenly struck me, that if we did not get to the hospital soon, he was not going to make it.

I’d followed exact caretaker instructions: I’d called ahead, because both his blood pressure and temperature had dropped. I’d convinced him to get into the car to drive him to the hospital. He was beyond exhausted, but agreed to go when I said my only other option was to call an ambulance. As the car radio played softly in the background, I also found myself going over the steps for CPR.  Through it all, God filled me with a surreal calm.  He made me understand that I had an assignment from Him, with a specific time limit, but that he was going to make sure I completed it. I just had to trust Him. I was not to worry.  I was to love and care for my dad. I drove along in darkness, but I knew that Jesus had the wheel.

It’s an amazing gift to receive a second chance at life, and definitely a time to turn to God and ask Him what plans He has for us.  Yet, how many times does God give us second chances, third, and fourth in our every day lives?  How many times does God help us get back up again, when we’ve fallen down in the race? We fall hundreds of times, and we will continue to fall throughout our imperfect lives.  Sometimes we fall physically, and we are literally unable to pick ourselves up from the ground.  Other times we fall emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Fear sets in, because we get discouraged and begin to believe the lie that we are going to lose the race.

But God has already promised us that we are going to win the race!  We only need to keep going. We will run, and we will fall, and we will get back up, and run again. But we will reach the finish line!  Jesus will be waiting for us at the finish line.  He’ll be there, because he’s been running with us the whole way. Sometimes he may have to carry us, but God promises us, if we race with Jesus as a teammate, we are guaranteed a victory! Keep running! There’s a trophy waiting at the end of the finish line. It’s for you…and it’s bigger,  and better, than anything you could ever imagine!

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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”
2 Tim. 4: 7-8 
New Living Translation

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