Life a run to the finish, like football

My understanding of football is not the greatest and when I ask dumb questions I am really showing ignorance of the game. However in our family I try to become more knowledgeable. My family is patient, explaining each play until about halftime and then its one grunt means “No” and two grunts mean, “Yes.”

This much I do know. The object of the game is to lay hold of the ball and run toward the finish line. I find that similar to the game of life. Sometimes we have setbacks. Sometimes we “lose the ball.” Sometimes we are tackled and “run over.”

To be honest, if I saw a great big guy running toward me with the football, I would gladly throw it to him, but in the game of life I want to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). In this game we may be down, but not defeated. We get up and try again. We keep on playing the game because the race is worth everything.

Athletes go into strict training and focus all energies on winning the race. So do believers and we train our lives to run the race of life for the eternal crown. Jesus is our champion and he has given us the rulebook.

Our “cheerleaders” are those who have gone before us, whose faithfulness was a constant encouragement in the race. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside ever weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 KJV).

Many times we “fumble” in life. Yet we hang in there, even when we don’t understand. I think about Bible characters like Moses, Abraham, Job, Naomi and Elijah.

Adversity came upon them yet despite their troubles they stood steadfast until the end.

What an example for us. We tie a knot in our rope and hang on. Someone has said, “A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.” I like that statement.

In the difficulties of my life, God has never left me. I have “dropped the ball” many times, but his grace reaches me. I love Habakkuk 3:17-18: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (KJV)

Foreclosures and assaults of family values may come but we still rejoice in our LORD.

Cheer up! I’m here to tell you the “good news.” Every day you and I have a choice. We play in the game of life and we are a tough player. We have a coach who control the play of the game and he instructs us with love. He gives “angels” to watch over us. He will never leave nor forsake us. At the end of the game, he has prepared a place for us to live with him forever.

That dear reader makes you a real winner. With God you win. So keep running toward the finish line. Run the race with faith, hope and calm assurance. When the last whistle has blown and the game of life has ended, run through heaven’s goalposts to that wonderful city who’s “builder and maker is God.

Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is:

joan@yucca.net

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