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“SPIRITUAL BONK” – April 18

April 18, 2013

“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe.  Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” 2 Chronicles 16:12

I went for a run yesterday morning.  As I plugged along, I meditated upon the passage from 2 Chronicles that I had read that morning.  I have been particularly troubled by the story of King Asa.  I do not like the stories of people who start off well but don’t end well.  It messes with my Disneyland world-view.

I have grown up in a land with the myth of happy endings.  It has never been true but that is the message from most entertainment.  I like movies with happy endings.  I don’t want to pay to be depressed.  I like stories where the good guys always win, the evil plot is always foiled, the nerd gets the pretty girl, and the mean people are taught a lesson.  I wish that my Disneyland world-view was real and everyone was guaranteed a happy ending.  I wish that everyone would finish this race of life well.

Disneyland is a land of make-believe and that is where the idea of “it will all work out” belongs.

I have been reading about the kings of Israel:

King Asa started out well but did not finish well;

King Rehoboam started out rough, did well in the middle, but did not finish well;

King Solomon started out well but did not finish well;

King David started out well, stumbled along the way, but did finish well;

King Saul started out rough and did not finish well.

As I ran along I could not help but think about Paul’s analogy of life being a race in 2 Timothy.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Running a race is an apt analogy to our long walk of faith through this life.  There are some who will finish the race well and there will be some that don’t.  Have you considered why?

BonkingI have been hesitant to even consider doing an Ironman triathlon.  My hesitance is due to a fear of not finishing well.  I don’t want to be the person, drunkenly staggering across the finish line with sedated legs that just will not do what the brain is telling them to do.  I really don’t want to be the person who starts to hallucinate and loses control of some pretty important bodily functions.  I don’t want to just finish the race, I want to finish well.

The problems in an endurance race are usually revealed at the end.  The key to finishing well is that final push past the fatigue and the pain and the voices in your tell head telling you to give up.  However, there is no pushing past a mixture of dehydration, training errors, gastric problems, and/or nutrition gaffes.

As I was heading toward home on my run, I could feel the fatigue setting in while I was thinking about bonking and finishing well.  I struggled to keep up the cadence of my stride and I could see the time rushing past at a much quicker pace than the asphalt.  I knew I was not going to come in with the time that I wanted.  I had been on pace the first two-thirds of my run but lost it in that last little bit.

Marathon

Marathon (Photo credit: Stijlfoto)

My mind turned to all those elderly folks who are closer to the end of their race than I am to mine (assuming natural causes have their way).  They are in the homeward length of their race where the fatigue is setting in.  They are battling failing bodies in which most everything hurts.  They are tired and easily exhausted.  Their minds may be telling them that they have done enough and that it is fine to rest.  There are some who are spiritually bonking because they never developed the habit of seeking Christ for their spiritual hydration and nutrition.  They may be in the final push with a body and soul that was poorly trained from years of indifference.  They may lack the strength that comes from years of walking and meditating with the Lord.

I see some elderly folks who appear to be finishing very strong, almost sprinting to the end, and the love of the Lord is just overflowing and the fruit of the Spirit is abounding;

I see some who are making it to the finish line but their pace has dropped off considerably and it is hard to distinguish their love for God from their love of tradition;

I see some who appear to have bonked – sitting on the curb unable to move forward.  The fruit of their lives is now impatience, bitterness, unkindness, and a general grumpiness.

My heart is drawn to those in the final lap of their lives.  I want them to finish well.

However, I realized, as I was walking up my driveway after my run, that I cannot remember the last time I prayed for my parents to finish well.  They are in this push.  I cannot remember praying for my elderly brothers and sisters in Christ that they will persevere in their faith and finish well.  I guess I have always assumed that they are mature in their faith and that everything is going to work out well for them; that they are past the hard part of their walk of faith; that they are in that final coast to the end and the acceptance of  “well done good and faithful servant”.

That is a Disneyland world-view.

English: Rachel Booth Winning Disneyland 1/2 M...

English: Rachel Booth Winning Disneyland 1/2 Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that we all would do well to remember that the final lap of any race can be the most difficult one.   We need to be aware of the fatigue that our older brothers and sisters in Christ are pushing through.  We need to be aware that they may need support as their habits of previous decades may have deprived them of the strength that they now need.  We need to be willing to show them more grace and encouragement to sprint to the end and abound in glorious praise of their Savior.

They are at the point where they have to dig deep to finish well.  Let’s cheer them on.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for not showing enough grace and compassion to my elders.  Forgive me for not empathizing with the struggles of this stage in life.  Help them to finish well.  Give them a vision of the finish line.  Give them a love for You that causes them to dig deep and push past their physical fatigue.  May their walk of faith turn into a sprint, as they rush into your arms to your glory and praise. Amen.

12 comments

  1. I value your thoughts on praying for our aged to finish their race well. As I read, I noted we can also help them finish well with frequent signs of our love. I hope someone will do both for me in my senior years.

    One of the ways we can help ourselves finish our personal race well is to live each day in a way that minimizes regrets. I imagine it is much easier to be nearing the end of our earthly life if we are not wishing we had lived differently.


  2. I was just talking to my husband about how and when faith’s teachable moments become so clear…what an amazing blog. those Disneyland moments are always so much easier….. Let this be a lesson to us all


  3. Great post, applicable to me, and to our society, a society struggling with hope, and struggling perseverance.


  4. Great post. Wonderful thought. Not only can we take this as a reminder to pray for our elders, but to begin now equipping ourselves to finish well.

    1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

    Have a blessed day.


  5. The older I get, the more I will like the post! 🙂


  6. You are so right. I never thought of it that way before. I tend to assume that they will end well but I know differently from experience. A pastor I know committed adultery at the age of 85. He was vulnerable having lost his second wife a few years before and I fear that as God’s people we did not pray hard enough for him. We just assumed he was “above it all.” What a sad mistake.


  7. Good analogy and convicting point about consideration of our elderly


  8. Our elders have been our cheerleaders when growing up…now it’s our turn to cheer them on to finish strong in their faith. Thanks for a great post!


  9. Maybe the solution lies in the verse you quoted above: “Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” Seeking help from the Lord supersedes seeking help from the physicians! The Bible is filled with many references of God as supreme healer/helper. But we tend to seek His help last rather than first. Thanks for the reminder JD.


  10. Thank you the reminder to pray even harder for my parents to finish well 🙂


  11. What a wonderful reminder to all of us at any age. Having just entered what I call the “Winter” season of my life, (age 60-80, Lord willing), I really appreciate your blog. And I felt especially convicted about praying for my aging mother and mother-in-law. How I want us all to finish well! May we dig deep, equip ourselves with the nourishment from God’s Word, time with Him, and the strengthening and encouragement we receive from fellowshipping with other believers. And mostly, may we “Press on…..”


  12. Very thoughtful and meaningful run you had! And something I never really thought much about…thank you



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