When I coached cross country, I would sometimes ask my runners, “What would it be like if I told you to start running and didn’t give you a finish line?” The response was always predictable and unanimous: “Coach, that would be terrible.” “I would just quit.” “Coach, I wouldn’t even start.”
What seems so obvious in running, however, becomes smeared in daily life. So many live each day with no finish line. The results here are predictable: depression, confusion, lack of passion, inability to move through hard places, lack of direction. This is so much a part of the human condition that we take it for granted. But what if we were given a finish line?
One of the the last things the Father gave me in Colorado was a theme verse for this new part of my life. I was drinking coffee at the McDonald’s in Estes Park, journaling before I was to leave for home the next day, when a Scripture passage leapt off the page. It was as if a laser beam had found a target in the recesses of my heart. The verse was a finish line: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (II Corinthians 4:18). What pierced me was the idea of fixing our eyes. It’s the gaze of a runner who knows where he is going and keeps pushing towards it.
I wrote this next in my journal: “I am to fix my eyes on the unseen. That goes against everything in our culture, and yet I know it is true. The fixing of my eyes on the unseen is I think the Father’s final word for me. It is his last wisdom for me in the mountains. To get above the swirl and flux of daily existence and simply see in the rarified atmosphere above what is coming and aim straight towards it.”
Here is the hope that can break the spell of idols. Here is the power that can pull us out of dark ruts. Here is the passion that can propel us on any quest God asks of us. Our life in Christ is not fully here, but it is coming. What would change if this were your finish line?