After many days and long hours of training, today you finally make it to race day. This is the moment you have been waiting for, to put your skills to the ultimate test. You’re full of excitement, all the adrenaline rising up as you take your place at the starting line. The official begins the countdown, saying, “On your mark, get set…,” and without any hesitation you are off running with all of your strength.
Although it’s possible you have never run a race in your entire life, what you have experienced and endured thus far can compare in similar ways. Currently you find yourself midway through the 2017 spring semester. You have fought through multiple deadlines and sleepless nights to preserve your grades until the end of the school year. In the beginning you are just like the runner in the introduction, having trained daily to develop the skills you will need to have a successful semester. If you were to take a moment to pause and reflect, do you believe you have experienced progress since then?
As I began writing this devotional, I reflected on the importance of grace and how it should entwine everything we do. I wrestled with how it could compare to our road to success as college students. One day while meditating upon grace, I suddenly came across a powerful message that read, “When you Run alone, it’s called Race. When God runs with you, it’s called GRACE!” It is not a mystery that the word “race” is embodied within grace; the question is, “Why?” When believers search the New Testament Scriptures, the apostle Paul reveals the answer to them: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:25-26, ESV).
Paul realized that grace is the race all of humanity is running to qualify for an eternal prize. Throughout your life you will encounter both mountains of victory and valleys of defeat or struggle. The important thing to remember when you find yourself with your back up against the wall is that you are going to make it through. Endure this race with patience one day and one assignment at a time. Look ahead toward the prize that awaits you after your college journey, a greater adventure waiting for you to explore.
The runner comes off the blocks full power with one goal on his mind: “I must finish the race.” In the midst of a competitive competition and the temptation to focus on the runners near and up ahead, the runner remains in his lane with his focus toward the destination. The temptation is to surrender to the pain, to give up on himself, to say he is not good enough. He endures till the end, fully exhausted and weary, but grateful he has made it through. One thing the runner has learned is this: if you want to win the race you must silence all of the noise that is against you, and most importantly, overcome all things. This race of grace is against yourself.