13 December 2017

Life – A Marathon not a Sprint!

As summer is upon us, there is much to look forward to. Depending on your age and interests you will have your own perspective on each of these forthcoming three events: the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and ‘the end of the world’, currently predicted by some for the 21st of December. All three of these remind me that my life has changed from a sprint to a marathon.

Personally I think Queen Elizabeth is a wonderful person and a fantastic Head of State, a lady who does a wonderful job representing her subjects worldwide. She is one of the few stabilising influences in our ever changing world. She is a person of faith, integrity and experience, with the necessary authority and gravitas to influence world leaders, politicians, and the common man alike. At the age of 85, she puts the rest of us to shame with her tireless work ethic and tenacity, and she shows no sign of easing off or handing over the reins to another. Sixty years of service to the nation is an astonishing achievement and represents a marathon reign unlikely ever to be repeated. However some day it will come to an end, and then what?

When I was a kid the only thing I was good at was running. I never stood still; I ran everywhere, just because I could, and like all sports-mad kids my dream was a trip to the Olympics. Needless to say, that never happened, but even now, in my current decrepit state, I still get butterflies when I watch an Olympic sprint final. The passion and the longing never dim, even though the only sprinting I do now is to the bathroom in the wee small hours. In my running days, my only claim to fame was always being first out of the starting blocks, but now I realise that while starting well is important, finishing well is what counts. All of us are in a race and will have to face the finish line alone. All of life has, in one sense, just been a preparation for what lies on the other side. Will it be “Well done, good and faithful servant” or “Depart from me, I never knew you”?

All these predictions about the end of the world should remind us of our own mortality. Such predictions are nonsense, because the Bible tells us that no man knows the day or the hour when the Lord will return, only God alone. However it does remind us that that day is coming, and whatever age we are, none of us knows what a new day will bring or if this one may be our last.

I would love to see the Queen reign forever, but we all know that can’t happen, because only King Jesus shall reign eternally. Doing a great job, being the longest reigning monarch, being a good person, all mean nothing when we stand before God. There will only be one question to answer, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” The only acceptable answer is, “Because Jesus has taken the punishment I deserve and given me His purity instead.” God is righteous as well as a loving God, and as such he cannot allow sinful people like us into heaven. Only righteous people can get in. The problem is, the Bible says there are no righteous people in Romans 3 verse 10.

However God has provided a way through Jesus. Even though He is God, He chose to become a man and came to earth and lived a completely righteous life. Then He sacrificed His life to pay the price God required for my sin, so now instead of God seeing my sin He sees only the righteousness of Jesus. Why would Jesus do that? Because He made us and He loves us beyond anything we can comprehend. However for this amazing exchange to take place we must recognise that we are wicked people and have broken God’s law. We deserve hell, because we are sinful and have chosen to live our lives our way and not God’s way. If we are truly sorry and want to change, then we can ask Jesus to forgive us, and cleanse us of the past and give us a fresh start to live for Him, and amazingly He does.

I can’t explain that, but I know it to be true.