by Tim Hall
Strength is needed to face the trials of life.
Lance Armstrong can truthfully be described as “a legend in his own time.” He is currently engaged in the Tour de France, a bicycle race that covers a 2,200 mile route throughout France and bordering countries.
The race would be hard if the course was flat, but much of the course goes through the Alps. This is not a race for weekend bikers.
At age 38, Armstrong has been described as a Methuselah in the sport. When you recall his health crisis from 1996, the amazement factor increases.
Given little chance to survive his cancer, Armstrong not only overcame the illness but went on to win seven consecutive titles in the Tour de France, a feat never before reached.
Last year he came out of a three-year retirement and finished third in the event. Writers have exhausted the superlatives to describe this man and his accomplishments.
Perhaps Armstrong’s most impressive feat is the establishment of the LiveStrong Foundation. Founded in 1997, the organization provides support for people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Last year alone his efforts in the Tour de France raised $50 million for this cause. Most recognizable are the yellow armbands with the word “LiveStrong”. Seventy million have been purchased by people on every continent (except Antarctica).
Rewind to 1996. Who would have blamed Lance if he had decided to give up his dream upon hearing the bleak prognosis he was given? Instead, he chose to live strong.
Christians are challenged to live strong. “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12,13, NKJV).
Sometimes we’re the ones giving strength to others. At other times we’re the ones in need. But strength is the key to surviving our race.
Paul also sounded the call: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).
Without strength we’ll fall by the wayside. We’ll conclude that the mountain before us is greater than our ability. In saying such things we forget that it is God’s might that strengthens us.
Like Armstrong, we’re in a race. After pointing to people of faith who have gone before, the writer of Hebrews 12:1,2 gave this exhortation:
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
To keep the strength flowing as you run, don’t look at the mountain ahead. Look to the one who gave his life for the opportunity you now enjoy.