Have you ever heard the legend of Pheiddippides? According to legend, Pheidippides was sent from Marathon, where a battle had raged, to Athens letting the people there know of the outcome of the battle. After allegedly running 150 miles without stopping he burst into the assembly and announced the victory over the Persians and then collapsed and died. Some legends say that he ran there and back and lived. Who knows? All I know is that we derive the term marathon from this legend.
Now, I am a runner. I like to run(not 150 miles). It does something to my brain. When I go periods without spiking my serotonin levels, people around me pay for it. I, however, am not a long distance runner. 30-45 minutes is enough for me. I thought at 1 time that I wanted to run a marathon but after looking at the training schedule decided that I didn’t have 4-6 hours per day to devote to running 4-5 days per week. As educators, we are in it for the long haul! Some of you reading this have run to Athens and back and have finished the race. Some are nearer to the end and some are closer to the beginning but we are all running. Ask any veteran educator and he/she will tell you that perseverance was the key. We want to finish well.
1 Cor 9:24-27 says:24 In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. 25 All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
26 So I do not run like someone who doesn’t run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. 27 No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.
Notice, he didn’t say that you were going to win but to run as if you were. We should never fail to see the prize before us. What prize do you envision? A scholarship for college? Independent learner? Life long learner? What prize do your children see for themselves at the end? As they get older, ask them. Let them have a say(within reason) in what they want for their lives. Then, begin to run toward that goal with them.
Are you training your whole body and those of your children? A great runner doesn’t just work on his legs but works his core and arms and trains his mind for the long run. How are we training the minds of our children? Are they getting a well rounded education? Are we teaching them self-control? I think that is a fruit of the Spirit that is sorely lacking in the world and I realize that it is sorely lacking in me. Do we have our kids training for the long haul? Do we have around us a great cloud of witnesses to bolster us when we fall? Do our kids have friends that are racing for the same prize? Moses had people hold his arms up when he could no longer do it himself. Jesus had the disciples accompany him to pray for Him. We know from scripture that they fell asleep. TWICE! When He needed them the most, they were sleeping. They couldn’t endure! Imagine how they felt when they knew what He had to endure. He was headed to torture and death and they were sleeping. Sometimes, I feel like I am sleeping. I feel Jesus tell me, “You couldn’t even stay awake for 1 hour. Look at what I have entrusted to you. Be vigilant!” Persevere!
Many of you know my story of AJay and I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say that at 10 weeks pregnant, we were told that there was a 50/50 chance that the baby and I could die. At 19 weeks I went on bed rest. At 23 weeks, my waters broke and I entered the hospital. The Lord brought to mind Romans 5. We will all suffer trials! But suffering brings perseverance, perseverance character, character brings hope and hope never disappoints! For 11 weeks, I lay in the bed at Mission while someone else mothered my other children while I carried this one child. I let God develop my character from my perseverance during this very trying time. What choice did I have? 2 really: 1 to be grateful for the lesson that I was being taught and to do so with grace and joy or 2 to kick, scream, cry and whine about where God had placed me. With God’s grace, I was able to endure it with strength. God’s strength not mine! I was weak and He was made strong in my weakness.
Now is our time to endure, to keep running steadfast, stay up praying. Our calling to be parents and educators can be exhausting. It can bring trials and suffering. We don’t get the break when our children leave us for 8 hours a day for 180 days out of the year. What do we get instead? We get to watch the light go on in our child’s eyes when he masters a concept. We get to mold and shape our children into godly young people who look for something more in life than what can it benefit me. We get the blessing of watching our children! Yes, we only have them for a short time( about a ¼ of their lives) to make them into god-fearing, responsible, life-long learners. How we endure during this time in their lives will be modeled by our children with theirs. Are we persevering with grace and mercy or are we kicking, screaming, and whining?