“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12: 1-2 (NRSV)

God has set a race before each one of us. Or rather, I would argue that He sets “races” before us.  Periodically during our lives, he tells us, “I have something I want you to achieve.  It won’t be easy.  You won’t be able to do it with your own talents, but with my help, you can achieve it.”

Throughout my life, God has stepped in and helped me achieve things that I could never had achieved on my own. God enabled me to go to law school and become a lawyer, when growing up, I knew no lawyers, and I had no idea what was involved in becoming a lawyer.  Moreover, I didn’t even have an undergraduate degree that would have prepared me for a legal career.  But God wanted me to serve the underprivileged by becoming a lawyer.  And that is what God has had me do with my life, against all odds.

The thing I’ve learned is that when God sets a goal for us, that doesn’t mean that He is going to make the path easy. So, realize that obstacles in your path are not a sign that God doesn’t want you to achieve a certain goal.  That is why I appreciate the author’s powerful words in the book of Hebrews, when the author says that Jesus, “who for the sake of[the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame.”  The pain of the cross wasn’t a sign that Jesus wasn’t doing the will of God.  Quite the converse.  The pain Jesus endured on the cross was part of God’s plan.

In the same way, when we encounter obstacles, we can’t allow them to discourage us. Instead, when we are presented with obstacles, God wants us to seek Him out.  He wants us to pray to Him for the strength to endure whatever trial we are facing.  He wants us to ask Him for the wisdom to know how to best handle any problem.  And then when we do achieve our goals, it will be clear to us that we achieved our goals only because of His intervention.

I can assure you that I have achieved nothing in my life without the intervention of God. My own intellect and strength have been insufficient to meet the tasks that God has set before me.  But I know (I know!) that God does not place a goal in our hearts that He will not help us fulfill.  If we do our small part, He will do His very large part.

When my husband was in the hospital this past summer, and for a time was on life support, I thought, “How will I endure this stress? I don’t have it in me.”  And in fact, I didn’t have the strength.  But God stepped in and gave me the strength to be there for my husband and the presence of mind to oversee his medical care.

While my husband was in the hospital, I was working during the day, and every night I drove 90 minutes (each way) to visit him after work. Many times, I thought to myself, “I am so exhausted.  How can I possibly sustain this schedule of work and nightly hospital visits?”  But for 45 days, I did just that.  God gave me the strength to do my job and to still be able to drive out and see my husband at the end of each day.  He protected me while I drove so I didn’t have an accident.  He also helped me to arrive at the hospital each day with a cheerful attitude to encourage my husband.  None of that was my own doing.  My ability to do that was due to the grace of God in my life.

Do you currently have a race set before you? Does it seem as though what God is asking you to do is just too hard?  I have felt that many times in my life.  And each time, when I have asked God for help to get me from Point A to Point B, He has done just that.  So, keep your eye on the finish line of the race that God has set before you.  And know that He will give you the strength, talents and wisdom that you need to accomplish your goal.

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