Diana Nyad captured media headlines today by swimming from Cuba to Florida at age 64…
All I can say is WOW!
Her mantra was “Find a Way”. She did. Five attempts and 36 years later. Talk about perseverance. She just kept swimming…
I was sharing the story of Diana with Paula tonight while she was running. We decided it was the day for Paula to achieve one of her running goals. She wanted to average a 10 minute pace for three miles. We had already run a mile and a half and the first mile was at 10:30, which meant she had some catching up to do.
We started to pick up the pace and made it to the end of the second mile and the pace was 10:10. So she was going to have to cut quite a bit off her third mile if she was going to make it.
She killed the third mile at 9:17. Putting her in under her goal of 30 minutes total. She found a way.
All I could think of was the girl I married who had never run before in her life. She wanted to run her first 5K just after we got married. We went on our first run through the neighborhood and she couldn’t make it past the first stop sign.
Last Sunday morning, she ran 10 miles before church and then came and taught Sunday School. She is training for her 2nd half marathon that she will run September 22nd, and is threatening to run a full in december. (I’ve never even run a half)
She just keeps running…
Here’s a picture of her run map from Sunday…
I think a lot of people like magic when it comes to life as well as faith. We want a magic pill that will make us lose weight. We want to get rich overnight. We want to be able to run 26.2 miles without all the training. In faith, we want to boil it all down to a trip to the altar. We want magic at our youth camp to “fix” us for the rest of our lives.
In all areas of our lives, we don’t want to have to persevere.
But it seems to me that the life of faith is about learning to follow Jesus in the daily grind. Like a runner getting up in the morning to lace up the tennis shoes, or a swimmer going to swim laps in the pool at 5:30 AM, a big part of the faith is learning the daily disciplines. Fighting the tendency for magic cures, and doing the hard work of prayer. Making time to meditate on God’s word. Learning to believe when we don’t “feel” the spiritual high of a camp service.
We could say, “Just keep believing…”
Or maybe Journey said it best, “Don’t stop believin’…”
Come to think of it, if we viewed faith as more of a journey and less of a transaction, we might see the need for perseverance.
Please don’t get me wrong, the life of faith is a life of grace from first to last. In fact, without the grace of God we have no hope. But when we learn to persevere, we learn to “show up” everyday so that we are available to receive grace. Jesus tells us to seek and we will find.
What all of us Christian folk could learn from Diana is what it means to never give up. I have learned that from Paula as well.
Maybe you are walking through a difficult time in your life and God seems strangely absent in the middle of it. You wish there was a magic prayer you could pray that would “fix” everything in your life.
To you I would say, “Don’t stop believin’…”
Determine that you will seek God today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.. One day you will look up and realize you have reached your lifelong goal. It will come with the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant…”
Just a thought,