Summary: You will not be remembered for the things you start but rather, for the things you finish. And the best part is, in the Christian race, you are not rewarded because you finished first – you are rewarded because you finished strong.
When you think of long-distance races, you most probably think Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes. But long before these athletes began shining, a young man from Tanzania embedded his name in the annals of history. The year was 1968 and John Stephen Akhwari was in Mexico in a bid to clinch Tanzania’s very first gold medal. Because Akhwari was not used to the high altitude of Mexico, his body needed some time to adapt – but it was time he didn’t have because he had arrived just in time for the marathon. From the very onset of the race, he was at the very back. This is usually not a big deal because marathoners usually catch up in the course of the race. However, Akhwari started suffering from muscle cramps but he had only one thought on his mind – he was here to do his country proud. So he ignored the cramps and soldiered on. If he could just endure the cramps, they would soon go away and he would complete the race.
But he was not prepared for what happened next.
As he was approaching the half-way point of the race, there was a pileup of athletes and a small accident ensued. It was small for the other athletes but because of the cramps, Akhwari easily doubled over at the slightest nudge. Because of the crowds, some of the athletes stepped on him and that coupled with the excruciating pain of the cramps left him writhing in pain. He sustained a bruised shoulder and a dislocated knee as a result of this incident. He was advised to drop out of the race but after the first aid team had attended to him, he was adamant that he was not quitting the race just yet.
By the time Mamo Wolde from Ethiopia was crossing the finish line, Akhwari was still at the tail end of the race but he kept running. He ignored the pain and kept running with only one goal in mind – to finish the race. One hour after Wolde had won the race, the Television crews were packing up their equipment when they noticed someone still scuttling with great effort toward the finish line. They rushed back to the scene to capture the determined young man and he became the talk of the day. Injured, bruised, in a great deal of pain, all alone –but he refused to quit. When journalists asked him why he had insisted on completing the race against all odds, he gave a heartwarming answer,
“My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race, they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race. “
Why you shouldn’t give up when the going gets tough
The truth is there is always a reason for quitting. But just like Akhwari demonstrated, if you decide not to quit, it does not really matter what kind of obstacles you might come across. Here are 5 good reasons why you should never think of quitting.
• Tomorrow is a better day
In the words of scripture, though weeping may endure for a night, joy will come in the morning. (Psalms 30:5). However bad things may look today, just take comfort in the fact that tomorrow will be a better day. Things may not be working out today but they will tomorrow. Just trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and before you know it, things will suddenly start to make sense.
• Hope is the raw material for faith
Faith can move mountains. And hope is the raw material for faith. That is why the devil will do anything in his power to make you hopeless. He understands full well that hope deferred will make a heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12). So do not allow the devil to kill your hope. As long as you are still alive, you can hold on to your hope and as Solomon put it, a living dog is better than a dead lion. (Ecclesiastes 9:4). Just hold on to your faith no matter what and you will see that this kind of hope never disappoints. (Romans 4:4).
• No friction, no movement
Engineers understand just how much friction causes strain, struggle and leads to wearing out of parts. But they also understand that without friction, there is no movement. This is why it is easier to walk in gravel than in mud. When faced with lots of hard times, it is heaven’s way of telling you to continue moving because the most conducive environment for movement is when there is friction.
• He will never leave you
What makes storms easier to overcome is not how sturdy the boat is but the fact that Jesus is riding with us. What the disciples didn’t understand when Jesus was sleeping in their boat was there was no way a storm would kill them as long as Christ was with them. The next time you feel like the storms of life are too much, just remember this, Christ is in you (Colossians 1:27) and he has promised never to leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).