Consider the postage stamp—it’s usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.

-Josh Billings

 

The ’68 Summer Olympics took place in Mexico City under the cloud of the Tlatelolco massacre which claimed the lives of hundreds of students killed by security forces just ten days before the Games were to begin.  It was mid-way through the Games—October 20th, 1968.  Evening was just settling in.  The last of the marathon runners from all over the world were being escorted off to first aid stations—as is custom when a runner has just spent every last dime of energy in the gruelling heat running as if his life had depended on it.  For those of us who have needed medical attention after a one or two mile run, we can only imagine running three miles until we are so delirious we aren’t sure if we are a marshian from outer space or a human when we finish.           

It had been well over an hour earlier that the winner, Mamo Waldi of Ethiopia, had crossed the finish line and completed the 26.2 mile race, but as the remaining spectators were clearing out an odd thing happened—police sirens began going off down in the entrance tunnel to the stadium.  And the attention suddenly shifted to the gate, where a man wearing the colors of Tanzania came limping into the stadium.  John Steven Aquari had taken a wicked fall during the race and subsequently busted up his knee as well as dislocated the thing.  The crowd began to cheer as the last to finish began to make his way around the track.  After limping around like a dog who had been shot in the hind leg, he eventually crossed the finish line—not to mention in a good amount of pain.  A reporter caught up with the exhausted marathoner and simply asked—Why didn’t you quit?—no one could have blamed him if he had. 
            
Aquari answered back, My country did not send me 7000 miles to start this race.  My country sent me 7000 miles to finish this race.    
 
15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; 16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,   but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.              (Proverbs 24:15-16, ESV)
              
Is it a battle with pornography that you continue to tangle with, an anger management issue that won’t stop eating at you, a bout with depression that keeps you feeling guilty, or a substance abuse problem that is dogging you years after you decided to get clean?  Maybe it’s gossip or a self-righteousness spirit that you can’t seem to conquer some days.   
                      
We can’t quit—we have been sent here to finish.    
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