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Beyond the Wall

He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29-32

Running a marathon is a daunting challenge. I still marvel at those who lead the packs of tens of thousands as they complete the run in just over two hours. Thus far my times have hovered in the six-hour range and for that I am thankful. I do not run for time.. I run to finish.

People often ask "what is it like?" And I always try to explain that it is a spiritual experience that words almost cannot explain. I mean, you train and train.. prepare and prepare... but still the obstacle comes... This is called "the wall"... The point in the run where your body is aching and your mind is questioning your sanity in even taking on such a task. The spirit of doubt starts whispering in your ear, telling you to quit... advising you that you will not make it to the end... This is where the conversation with God gets very real and very intense...

For me, this occurs right around mile 17 or 18. My legs are aching. My shoulders are sore from the back and forth motion. Even my beloved ipod music program is getting on my nerves... And then the conversation begins... I realize that it is at this moment that I have a direct line to the Almighty. God is ever-present. I start asking God to help me make it to the finish line. To give me the fortitude to stay the course. My body starts reacting, telling me to look at my hands.. I do. and they are swollen, looking like the mitts on the Pillsbury Doughboy.

I raise my hands above my head and the blood rushes back into my torso, giving me a rush of energy.... My lungs fill with fresh oxygen and suddenly I am stronger, I can make it.... I really can make it! The impact of fresh oxygenated blood fills my body and I move as if I have wings... yes, there's pep in my step... I can fly!! I look around and people younger than me are stopping, quitting, throwing up, crying, giving in....

My legs are aching but I keep them moving. Like we used to sing as we ran in the Marine Corps.. "Pick 'em up and put 'em down, 40 inches all around... oooorah!!"

My mind's state is on another level. I am not conscious of this world, for I am conversing with God. "Lord, just take me to the end, Lord... Help me overcome this... take me through this wilderness to the Promised Land... Lord make me new..... stronger, smarter, make me realize that as I complete this I will be a better person on the inside... I am running and not weary. As the old song says, Lord help me to hold out"

In the end, I cross the finish line and I break down in a frenzy of praise. I have never been able to contain my tears as I finish. I am ecstatic because I know that even with my strenuous preparation, I still need the Lord my God to take me through. And I thank Him!!! I praise Him!! Hallelujah!!!

In many ways, life is like this.. we prepare and prepare for our life's goals and yet, we still find ourselves at that realization that we need the Lord. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. We have to pace oursleves, but then there is that time in our lives where we have been running and running... we've completed many miles but still have miles to go to get to the finish line... we are tired... aching, almost ready to toss it in.... but we wait on the Lord. We seek the voice of God... We inhale His ever present essence. We converse with Him in a very serious and earnest way. And He energizes, revitalizes and we have not even broken stride in the run. Those that wait on the Lord shall renew thier strength.....

In everyday life and on the marathon course, I need the Lord my God to take me Beyond the Wall....