St. Paul wrote these words toward the end of his journey spreading the faith. He knows death awaits and ‘a crown of righteousness,’ which the Lord, the just Judge will award to him. The letters of 1 & 2 Timothy are called Pastoral letters because they are concerned with the work of a pastor in caring for the community. We can consider them helpful in our caring for our family and friends.
This verse reminds me of the impossible situation I lived with, via my Mother’s addiction to prescription medications. While prayer convinced me that God’s grace would carry me through this impossible situation, there were many times, I was assailed with doubt. Invariably, a Scripture reading, a friend or some God wink (coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous) would give me the strength to continue to hope for an infusion of wisdom and the dawn of better days.
Because of this addiction, my Mother overdosed at least five times, coming back from the brink of death. For many years as her caretaker, I persisted acting and thinking, I could ‘fix the unfixable.’ In large measure, motivated by guilt and obligation, I was doing the best I could, though often pushing myself beyond all reason. She needed 24x7 care and I couldn’t provide it, despite all my efforts.
God’s love (and finally knowing, if I messed up – I would not lose this great love,) encouraged me to let go. Placing my Mother in a Nursing Home (more than a year ‘after’ she needed it,) was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Of course, she fought it every step of the way. For the first two month’s she was in a residence, she refused to have any contact with me. Despite my angst, I continued to keep the faith. Eventually, she responded to my calls and gratefully, healings occurred in the years that followed. It is her story and mine of God’s action in our lives, that I write from today.
Yielding to God’s control empowered me to accomplish much more than I could imagine. As God blessed me, He was making me a blessing to others. Somedays I am thankful to be stretched, others I am weary. I know it is the fruit of faith that keeps me going. When we believe, hope and love, we can do what might seem impossible. It is only in reflecting on our past, that we can understand the present and ultimately grapple with the future.
I have no doubt the events of my past shaped who I am today and God knew what I would need to become who I am called to be. I can say with thanksgiving from the words of 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
Would you like to share a story of running your race and keeping the faith?