Devotional

Escape This World

Ready “He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:29-31
Set Alcatraz. The very name conjures up thoughts of hopelessness. This prison sits on an island in the middle of the frigid San Francisco Bay, covered in fog and mystique. It's a foreboding place to visit, but a great place from which to escape. A few summers ago, a group of FCA Endurance athletes joined about 1,800 others in the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon. We were taken on a boat to the island, and after they dropped anchor, they opened the side doors and yelled, “Go!” We spilled out like paratroopers into the black, choppy, 55-degree water and swam as fast as we could across the 1.5 mile channel. After that tiring swim, we then biked 18 miles of hills and finished off with an 8-mile trail run. It was an absolutely intense experience. I remember standing on the boat and feeling doubts creep into my mind: “Had I prepared enough? Would I grow weary?” Sure, we were all pumped up to start and we had done the training, but I could see my same nervous excitement and concern in the others. If we didn't swim well, there would be serious consequences. It's not like we could call a time-out to catch our breath. This kind of thought process is purely from our human side—our own simple minds making us worry about worthless things. But it’s such a waste. We shouldn’t spend time doubting ourselves. Instead, we should spend that time praising God for our opportunities. We should pray for strength and safety for those involved, and that we would honor the Lord with our actions. Without the strength God gives us, we wouldn’t be able to compete at all. But with Him, there’s nothing we can’t do! He can give us strength beyond our imagination, and He often does if we just ask, pray and praise. As I pushed the anxious thoughts out of my head and let His thoughts take their place, I heard over the loudspeakers the prayer being read by our FCA rep, Trippe. His prayer blanketed us in comfort and emboldened us to be warriors for Christ. After that, and a loud cheer from the ship, we knew that nothing could hold us back from the task ahead. As the race began, the waves washed over my head and swimmers crashed into me, but I just kept thanking God for allowing me an incredible opportunity. I continued praying that He would strengthen us all (and allow us to swim faster than the sharks!). And in the end, even though it was an incredible challenge, we all finished strong. Congratulations to all who have taken on tasks that challenged them beyond what they thought they had, and who entered a new understanding of God’s strength inside them.
Go 1. Have you ever been doubtful before a competition? 2. How did you prepare, and how did the Lord help you overcome? 3. How can you take those lessons and apply them to your next race, game or match?
Workout Psalm 18:32 1 Corinthians 1:25 Hebrews 11:32-34
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