Smiling in the Bell Lap



“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” – 2 Timothy 4:7


One of the passions of my earlier life was running. It’s sad to say that it has not been a continuing passion. In those days, there was a great deal of satisfaction at the end of a 12-mile run. Seeing the finish line brought such a sense of accomplishment—the “rush” of completion.


Recently, God has been doing something new in my life. For years now I have lived in the “heart-brokenness of ministry.” The passion to share God’s message of Good News with others has created a longing to see visible and practical results in the lives of others.


When visible results are not evident, there has been a level of frustration, brokenness and emptiness that only another man of God can understand. It can be a painful path. Such times have driven me back to the cross and to His feet.


Over the past year, however, joy has exploded my soul as I have watched many whose paths I have crossed living the truths I have preached. God is bringing people from my past into my life again and saying, “See, you taught them what I told you, and there it is in their life!”


I am beginning to realize that the investments God has desired me to make were all long-term. I am seeing now that instantaneous results are not as satisfying as those realized in the “last lap” of our lives.


Yesterday I saw a friend, a student; a college kid in whom I had invested much love, energy, and prayer. She was glowing. She was vibrant with the life of Christ. She has owned her faith! She is making a difference in the lives of junior high girls now! Hallelujah!


I, like Paul, am by no means conceding the end of my life. I do believe that I am in the last lap but there is still much of the race to be run. I do also believe that I am beginning to see the results of the race run.


Dear one, it is important how we run the race. It is important that we tell the story of Jesus and His love. It is important that we die to self daily and allow Christ to live His life through us. It is important that we love people and live passionately. But it is of utmost importance how we finish the race!


When I see what God has done (anything good in my life is what He has done), and what He wants to do, my heart sings. These are the words I sing as I smile in the bell lap:


          Were the whole realm of nature mine,

       That were a present far too small.

       Love so amazing so divine,

       Demands my soul, my life, my all!


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