Monday, June 10, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Marathons

The Marathons of Life

A devotional by Amanda Wen

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” 
–Romans 15:4 (ESV)

The marathon is one of the most impressive feats of human athleticism and endurance. Though I’ve been a runner for a few years now, I’ve never attempted one, or anything even remotely close. My “endurance challenges” have taken place in the form of 5K and 10K races (3.1 and 6.2 miles, respectively). And while some run for time, or even to win, I run merely to finish, regardless of time or place. (Have I mentioned I’m not a natural athlete?)

But no matter the distance of the race you’re running, some of the most welcome sights along the course are those volunteers who hand out cups of water and packages of energy goop. When strength flags, motivation wanes, and you wonder why in the world you ever thought this was a good idea, that smiling face, cup of cold water, or sweet, delicious energy gel restores, refreshes, and energizes. It keeps you going and makes you think maybe you can run a few more steps after all.

The comparisons between running a marathon and making it through a challenging season of life are inevitable. Whether it’s completing your education, surviving the sleepless nights of a new baby, suffering through a scary medical situation, or simply waiting for the next chapter in life to start, endurance is the name of the game. But God has promised that we do not run our race alone. Over and over in His word, He promises never to leave or forsake us. He instructs us not to fear, because He is with us. His presence is enough to get us through life’s most difficult and painful times, even when it feels like it is not.

One of the ways God reminds us of His presence is by using other people to do so.

As I’ve gone through several challenging months, I’ve received those cups of cold water and packages of energy goop in the form of pep talks from friends, encouragement from family, and even songs on the radio that speak directly to my heart. Seemingly every time I need a breath of fresh air, or a gulp of the proverbial Gatorade, God provides that. It’s rarely the same thing, and it’s rarely the same source, but it’s always exactly what I need to hear at that particular moment in time. 

Always, I’m reminded that God hasn’t forgotten me, and His plans for me are still in effect. And it also reminds me to be that smiling, encouraging race course volunteer for someone else…to let God’s encouragement flow through me and bless someone else who might need a little refreshment.

If you’re going through something difficult right now, I pray that you’ll endure, and that you’ll have eyes to see those race course volunteers. And if you’re not in a challenging season at the moment, to whom can you deliver some refreshment and cheer today?

Author Bio:
Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of contemporary inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. 

A first place winner in the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, she also placed first in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, the 2017 Great Expectations Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. In addition, she was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest.

Amanda is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and regularly contributes author interviews for their Fiction Finder feature. She’s also been spotted onstage with the worship team at recent ACFW conferences. Amanda is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

In addition to her writing, Amanda maintains an active and rewarding career as a freelance cellist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team. She lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their three adorable and hilarious Wenlets.

Connect with Amanda:

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