April 29, 2021
Volume 25, Number 16
Running an ultramarathon is something I’ve never done, or would even plan to do. A marathon would be challenge enough, but this type of race is beyond tough. These are designed to test the limits of those whose passion is running and pushing themselves beyond normal human limits.
I was first introduced to this sport after a camping trip to Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. Later I learned that this is the site of The Barkley Marathons, a series of five randomly-laid-out courses that must be completed in 60 hours or less. The courses take the runner up steep mountain sides, through thick briar patches, and often is run in the darkness of night.
Running The Barkley Marathons is by invitation only, and you have to apply. If accepted you’ll receive a letter that begins: “Our condolences – you’ve been accepted.” Though hard-core runners come from all over the world, 99% of those who begin will not successfully complete the course. “Craziness” is the word that comes to my mind.
Jesus once talked about the difficulty of finding our way to “life”. By that He meant the good life that God offers. Here’s how He said it: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).
Was Jesus saying that the pathway to this better life is just impossibly hard, and therefore “there are few who find it”? Or did He mean that there are few who are willing to enter this way that demands so much?
That latter explanation is what Jesus meant; in Matthew 16:24 He stated the terms of discipleship in this way: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” How many people do you know who are willing to deny themselves, much less take up a cross? That’s why “there are few who find it”.
But those who catch the dream of heaven should know they won’t have to do it alone: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). God will do far more to help us than we can imagine, and His power will work “in us”. If I want to run this “ultramarathon” to heaven, I can absolutely make it. The Lord will help us make it!
Need more assurance? Hebrews 7:25 gives it: “Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” So go ahead, start the race. He will save you “to the uttermost”!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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