December 13

It is finished

By Rebekah Trittipoe

(A devotional to be included in the upcoming 365 book of devotions, I Wonder as I Wander. Expected release in 2009.)

 

            “It is finished.” Before you accuse me of having a Jesus complex, I do not. Nor am I writing sacrilege. It is merely a comment I made with the greatest sense of relief at precisely 5:14 p.m. this evening.

            At one minute after midnight, I toed the line for the last race of The BEAST race series. Six races must be completed by the successful entrant, the three shorter mountain races (34, 31 and 29 miles) in the spring and the remaining hellacious contests in October, November and December. The October race demanded 100 miles, then 54 in November, and now nearly 67 miles to finish it off. This last race is known for its extreme difficulty, tight cut-offs, and a midnight start. Freezing temps, howling wind, and difficult footing are all par for the course. Of those who dare sign the application, relieving the race director for incurred injury or death (I’m not joking), an average of only 60-70% cross the finish line. It is not a race for the timid.

            My goal this year, being a BEAST entrant, was simply to finish the thing. I was not concerned, or prepared, to break any land speed records. I just need to be under the 18 hour time limit. The temperature and wind chill was worse than predicted and caused discomfort on multiple levels. I was cold, my feet constantly wet from numerous stream crossings, shoes strings frozen rendering them impossible to adjust, and my water tube iced up solid for at least ten miles. Not being able to adequately hydrate made the task even more difficult. Add to that a slim 25 minute cushion on the cutoff at two of the aid stations, my fear escalated at the thought of blowing the BEAST series and my fifth Hellgate race. And when my left outstep of my foot protested vehemently, I began to panic. Lord, please help me stay calm and strong. Remove the pain and let me finish. He answered that prayer. I crossed the line with 47 minutes to spare. So exhausted I could barely smile, I instead crawled into my sleeping bag and fell into a deep sleep.

            Making a commitment to “finish” is not always easy. Often fraught with moments of regret, the required pain and hard work can take its toll. And yet, it is essential that we “suck it up” and follow though. How else will our children learn that finishing—as opposed to quitting—requires commitment and dedication?

            As Christians, we have the ultimate example of “finishing.” Christ had to die on the cross to atone for our sins. There was no way around it. But it didn’t just happen. It required a conscious decision and commitment to the will of His Father. Was it easy? Of course not. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

 “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

 Daily challenge: Choose your challenges carefully. Then make the commitment so that you too can say, “It is finished.”