by Ken Rolheiser

Life’s race between two great awes

“Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years. Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Our lives are a book. The last chapter is the key. If we could read that chapter first, it would give everything a perspective, especially our attitude toward suffering, pain and hardship.

However we look at life, we are all in the good race toward God and eternity. At my age it seems some of my siblings and even some of my friends are in a race to that finish line.

“To Christ, finishing first or finishing last does not seem important; what seems important is reaching the finish line, your own finish line…

“Your race is not a competition, you alone run in it. It still doesn’t matter how you reach the finishing line, unscathed or limping. What matters is that you reach the finish line.

“In the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Derek Redmond did not finish first; He finished last. He limped his way through, but he reached the finish line… With torn muscles and in excruciating pain, he forged his way to the finish line.

“To some he looked weird… Hopping on one leg with arms around his father's neck on the track field was unfamiliar to the cheering crowd. But he reached the finish line.” (from sparksofHisglory blog)

What a powerful image of our completing the race of life with our heavenly Father’s arms around us. Our exit from this life is not normally graceful. Sickness, age and deteriorating health take their toll, but our Father will be waiting to greet us.

Life is lived between two great awes. We are in awe of the blessings of physical pleasure, joy, love and God’s creation, and we are in awe over the ecstasy of touching God’s love incarnate in Jesus.

Madonna sings of this spiritual and sensual meeting in “Like A Prayer”:
Life is a mystery
Everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home

Our experience of love in family is like home, like the heaven we will share in eternity. Madonna’s song continues:
You whisper softly to me

It’s like a dream

You’re here with me

When you call my name
It's like a little prayer
I'm down on my knees
I wanna take you there
In the midnight hour
I can feel your power
Just like a prayer you know I'll take you there.

Some critics suggest Madonna is reflecting our prayer and sexuality in these words. We feel God’s power blessing us as we strive in this physical existence.

“I feel so lucky to have lived the life that I did and to be surrounded by the people I love. I've got eight kids, and they're always laughing all the time. It's like music to my ears,” says Kris Kristofferson.

And in acknowledgement of old age he continues, “I think that my frame of mind these days is probably happier than I've ever been, which is kind of odd, coming close to the finish line.”

The challenge of running life’s race with our families is daunting. We want all members to reach that heavenly goal. Trust in the Master for that solution.

“Our families don't always cross the finish line in the span of one generation. But each generation passes on to the next the fruits of their labor.” Julian Castro 

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