Monday, January 9, 2017

A Winter's Read (Part 2)

The following is the second half of an article published by The Lookout magazine on a snowy day in January. The original title was “One for the Books.” As I blog , I am looking out my window, and  I don’t see much snow. Some parts of Charlotte got up to 10 inches on Friday evening. We had less than one inch, the first measurable amount in 2017. No matter the amount it still brings back great memories of a record-breaking ride!

“I did it!” This was one for the record books.

I stood up, my gloved hands still clutching the sled rails. I was a herald athlete waiting for his crown of honor.

But my euphoria quickly dissipated when I realized no one had seen my run.

My friends would never believe it. There was no way to prove it. No audience. No photos. No newspaper reporters.

Then Dead Man’s Curve suddenly felt ominous. I hated the desolate spot with no lights and no houses around. The specter of auto accidents and deaths at the sharp S-curve overwhelmed my mind.

“Where’s my victory? I thought. Why is fear overtaking me?

I could smell perspiration and my wet wool hat. I felt a gust of wind. The night cold began to numb me.

The stars still shone brightly. That was comforting.

I began the long trek home, trying not to lose courage as I thought of the tales of smashed-up cars.

I took in a deep breath and gazed into the heavens. They looked clear and bright, like a freshly washed window. And in that moment I realized that just as God sees my defeats, he sees my victories. Was that enough? For the first time in my life, I realized the power of God to know my life. The Lord was my audience. He was the witness. Only his words counted.

I did not actually hear God saying, “Well done, faithful servant.” But as the wind picked up and the ice-crusted trees creaked, it felt like those words.

Our goals as Christians will always be to face any challenge fearlessly __ to finish the race marked out for us by Christ. We can rejoice over those who have courage to stand alone for the Lord, ignoring the need for applause from the world.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith,” the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7)

Whether or not there was someone in his view applauding, Paul never lost sight of the spiritual prize.

On that icy, victorious night, my young mind did not comprehend the spiritual prize. I was occupied with other concerns, such as explaining to my parents what I had done.

But in the end, only a few things matter. We should live to please the Lord. Not only does that goal give freedom, but assurance as well. We can know “there is in store for me the crown of righteous” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

Robert Parlante

January 2017

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