Usually, we visualize THE FINISH LINE as a place, a strip of paint across the track, a physical destination we strive to reach and crossover. For our purposes, THE FINISH LINE represents a delineation between our mortal lives here on earth and our eternal lives. In John 14, Jesus told the disciples he was going on ahead to prepare a place for us. That is a comforting promise we hold dear. There are times we grow quite weary of this broken world. When our brothers and sisters in Christ die, we say they have “gone home,” and we can be glad for them. They are free of brokenness to enjoy a place prepared especially for them.
When approaching landmark birthdays, however, we tend to think of THE FINISH LINE in terms of time. We may be amazed at how many decades have passed or wonder how much time is remaining? The Bible tells us to number our days and be wise (Psalm 90:12) because God has ordained them (Psalm 139:16). Often, I wish I knew the exact number so I could plan accordingly. It is comforting, however, to know God is in charge and not me. We may get caught up in the finite days on our calendars, but at THE FINISH LINE, we step into the infinite. How liberating that will be!
Sometimes, we think of THE FINISH LINE as an accomplishment, a victory for which we must strive with great discipline and effort like an Olympian going for the gold. Many times I have awaited my husband at the end of an arduous, week long bike ride to congratulate him. How satisfying it was the very first time I personally completed 50 miles and rode beneath a victory arch of balloons at Portland State University with my husband, son and grandson!
We want to finish strong; but that does not always look like an athletic competition. As a spectator at THE FINISH LINE of the Portland Marathon, I observed finishers of all ages, shapes and sizes. Some ran competitively to win. Others ran to better their own personal record. Many ran simply to finish. Let’s be honest—26 miles is an impressive run. However, there was one runner that impressed me more than all the others I watched cross THE FINISH LINE that day. Just yards short of his goal, he broke his beautiful stride, stopped, and helped another runner whose calf had cramped up. Together, one walked and one limped over THE FINISH LINE. I think God was very pleased with this victory of compassion. I could almost hear the, Well done my good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:21)
The closer I come to THE FINISH LINE, however, the less I think of it as a place, a time or even a victory we can offer. I am coming to realize THE FINISH LINE is really a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now I sense His glorious presence in beautiful worship, His truth as I study the Word, His mercy and compassion as I pray, His voice promising me just what I need, and His comfort among other believers. Then, there, at FINISH LINE, I will see Him face to face. He is my reward, my portion, my inheritance. Jesus is the One who truly knows me, and I will finally know Him as I am known. What intimate joy awaits me/us!
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. I Corinthians 13:12 NKJV