I have been walking regularly for awhile now in an attempt to stay in shape. Plus, having my daughter’s “graduation present” in tow makes daily walks mandatory too. I also use my time to steel away from my family, obligations, demands and from noise. It is my time to pray and de-stress. I teach 7th grade English – believe me –I need time alone with my own thoughts. Regardless of how absurd they may be –they are my thoughts.
Sometimes while on a walk, I pop on the headphones and listen to the alternative Christian station. The pulse and constant beat seems to keep me going and some times, makes the time go by faster. About half way through my walk, a couple came on the radio discussing the challenges and trials we as married couples go through, adding that we should embrace the change. Ok – I am all for that. Change is good and trials do happen. I am fully aware of that. Just the couple sounded too cute; too perky; too happy. I will give them credit for one thing. She quoted from Hebrew 12:2, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. You know how you can hear a verse millions of times, but then hear it again as if for the first time? I had that moment. If I could stop walking right there and begin jotting down ideas – I would have. However, Emerson (aforementioned graduation present) kept my hands full! Note to self—get a little tape recorder.
I have a pretty good understanding of the word author – one who writes, right? Webster’s’ puts it this way: the one who creates and gives existence – God. In Greek, author comes from the word archegos, meaning captain or prince. Pretty cool. As an aspiring author, I can relate to that. I have millions of thoughts running around my head that I try to give life – give an existence by giving them body through words on paper. Some time the words I form in my head become lost in transition as they are birthed on the page. But they are still in the embryonic stage of development. They are not complete. They are not finished.
Finisher. I had some different thoughts in my head regarding this one. If I look at the verse in context, the complete verse talks about running the race before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus. Ok – races have a finish line, right? I naturally thought finisher was the one who finished the race. Sounds pretty good to me. Mr. Webster again has a better definition than I do. Finisher – to come to the end of an undertaking or course of action. Well I was close.
The Greek translation gives a more complete meaning – a completer. I believe that God not only created us and gave us our existence. I also believe He creates and gives existence to the circumstances set before us, in our race to the finish line.
I mentioned the daunting task of writing before and how the writer begins with a spark of an idea that he breathes life into; puts flesh on while fleshing out the details – bringing it into existence. Before one grain of sand became part of the infinite, we were a spark of an idea that God put flesh on – and He continues to flesh out the details.
In character development, an author adds imagery, adjectives, adverbs and details to give life to his character. The author and finisher adds drama, trials, tribulations and obstacles to develop our character. I heard a Bible study years ago that said God never puts us in a situation we can handle. I thought I heard that incorrectly the first time, but it makes sense. We can’t handle our circumstances the author brings us through – without the author bringing us through. I believe another aspect of these verses is to have a goal and persevere until you achieve it. Know up front that there will be challenges and obstacles in front of us designed to detour us or stop us completely. When I go on a walk, I try to check for wind. I hate to walk in the wind or rather against the wind. However, I live in Amarillo, Texas – wind is a daily occurrence. There are varying degrees of velocity of course, but regardless – there is always wind. So- my only choice is to persevere and walk with and against the wind. I can’t let it hinder my goal nor let it become an obstacle.
Let’s think about a baby and their quest for freedom. These quests are met in the desire to first creep, then crawl, then stand – and finally WALK! My three children and each met this challenge in their own way. Daniel, the first-born, self-motivated, purpose driven, goal oriented. He looked at walking as a new task to master that allowed him the ultimate goal – independence. The day he took his first real steps, he stumbled a few times, but got right back up smiling and continuing until he reached his Daddy’s arms – never once taking his eyes from his Daddy’s smiling face. Beth, my 2nd child, was at one time also on a quest for independence, but allowed self-hindrances stifle her success. Her first attempt produced lots of tears because she did not succeed that first time out the shoot. Since she “failed” – she just quit. She sat down. She gave up. A few days later, on her own and out of sight from “judging” eyes (she thought) she tried again – and did it. Another thing I’ve noticed about Beth, in her toddler days and even today – she is strong-willed, determined to reach a goal one way or another. Whereas she broke down in tears when things didn’t turn out “just right” –she has turned this to a positive. Instead of allowing obstacles to defeat her – she makes up her mind to pursue the goal, run the race and allowing nothing will sway her. Beth used to play tennis. Playing tennis in Amarillo is sometimes a tricky deal because of that darn wind and unpredictable weather. Monday through Friday – we can enjoy warm, sunny days – with mild breeziness. Nevertheless, on tournament days, we might have 40 mph gusts, 50 degrees or below temperature. While we sit and freeze, she runs after the ball – with her eyes fixed dead ahead on the goal – this time with no tears. She generally approaches life the same way. Oh, there are moments of hesitation and questions: Can I do it? Am I good enough? What if this or that? After a few talks to restore confidence and several hours of personal intercession – she assumes her quite resolve and conquers her fears.
Christy – the baby of our family wants to have fun and if something does not equate to this standard – she rapidly loses interest. That would be a hindrance, but if one looks at this in a positive light, she desires something worth pursuing be full of passion. Another hindrance for Christy was the fact that her feet seldom touched solid ground. Someone was always carrying her; not that she required this, but she was, after all, the cute little baby of the family! However, at times, we can fall into that trap too and allow ourselves to be held and carried instead of standing on our own feet. This is technically called enabling and it is not that cute. Christy somehow did learn to walk – I know this is true because she is a very independent 16-year-old young lady ready to drive. (I’m not ready for that though!)
Let’s go back to the image of Daniel walking towards his Daddy. Did I mention that he never took his eyes off of Kent? Or that he maintained a spirit of joy and laughed his way all the way across the room. He only stumbled on his obstacles. I would try to warn him “watch out for such and such toy.” Only then, he would momentarily break his constant gaze from Dad in order to get his bearings straight. Daniel is that example of our Christian walk too. Truthfully, all three are a mirror of our Christian walk. We are to count it all joy and keep our eyes fixed on our Daddy.
I want to revisit that quote again. God never gives us a situation we can handle. I agree to a point because never is an absolute and never is true all of the time. No, I don’t believe so. Some situations such as deciding what to eat of wear is a situation I believe I can handle on my own without a consult with the almighty. I am not trying to sound pious or sacra religious – I am just saying that as I look at the quote from its intent – situations a.k.a. challenges – then yes – I’ve been in many I had to totally rely on God for support so I could finish the course of action planned for me.
Beth and her reluctance to walk personify this. Yes, she had the desire to walk, but she had to reach out and hold her Daddy’s right hand. Christy – who is the picture of dependence. There are legitimate times that even though we are perfectly capable of walking on our own, we allow the Father to carry us through until we are stronger. I like that definition of author – one who creates and calls into existence. The Father created the idea of us in his omniscient mind and called us into existence. I know nothing we go through is a shock or surprise to God. However, I do believe He gives us the grace, strength and peace to finish and complete the race. He doesn’t always give us answers as to why thing happen – He asks us to trust and gives peace as He “completes us”.