Sermon Illustrations

A. Linda Down discovered real power and she needed it. She had dealt with the limitations of cerebral palsy all her life. One day, she got this crazy idea of running the New York Marathon. But Linda walked with difficulty, so running seemed out of the question? She used canes with arm clamps to steady her arms. On top of this she was 25 pounds overweight and jobless. In a state of depression, she began reading in the Scriptures about the power of God at work in people’s lives. She read Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. While training, she listened for God. She thought as she was running in the dark at night: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction about things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). She thought about her limited dreams, her inability to see beyond the obstacles of life. Faith, she said to herself, was running in spite of the insurmountable obstacles. As the New York Marathon began that cold morning, some 12 years ago now, she wore gloves on her hands to soften the impact of the crutches. It was windy on the bridge and uphill. She had not expected the beginning to be so difficult. As she finished the mile long Verrazano Narrows Bridge, there were no runners in sight ahead of her. Spectators were gone for the most part. But one little girl ran out into the street and cheered her on, “You can do it!” Others on the curb later applauded and cheered and shouted. They brought tears to Linda’s eyes and helped her to keep going. Ten hours later Linda was still running in the dark through dangerous neighborhoods. Some admiring spectators walked with her for safety. Then an ABC-TV camera crew showed up and followed the story of her courage. She continued to run. She wore a hole in one sneaker from dragging it across the ground; her hands ached and throbbed; her arms became black and blue and swollen; she couldn’t speak to anyone because of fatigue,...

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