Friday, May 03, 2013
"I knew I was going down" - 78-year-old Boston Marathon runner Bill Iffrig
On April 15, 2013 78-year-old Bill Iffrig, of Lake Stevens, Wash., was competing in his third Boston Marathon (a 26.2-mile race) and only 15 feet from the finish line when a blast knocked him to the ground. He suffered a scraped knee and ringing in his ears.
Iffrig said he was “feeling pretty good” about his time when he saw the finish line in sight about 15 feet away. Then he heard a blast and his body trembled.
“The shock waves must have hit my body, and my legs just started going like noodles," Iffrig later told ESPN, "and I knew I was going down right there.”
“I made an attempt to get up, and one of the assistants came over and gave me a hand,” Iffrig said. “He went over and walked me to the finish line so I can finish.”
Afterwards he refused the use of a wheelchair as he walked six blocks to his hotel room!
Bill’s ordeal that day inspires us not to give up. After all the fatigue and sweat and pain, Bill was hit with a blast that knocked him off his feet just inches from the finish line. You and I are in a race and we are often hit by setbacks that knock us off our feet. We sometimes feel like even quitting. Look at Bill. He didn’t quit. He didn’t give up! He got up, put one foot in front of the other, and finished the race.
Paul the apostle writing to the Corinthians encourages them, and us, by his example. He often was discouraged and probably felt like throwing in the towel. He not only experienced the hardships of being a 1st Century missionary, but he also had to navigate through the minefields and explosions of criticism and attacks from the Judaizers and false teachers. But look at Paul. He did not give up. He did not quit. In 2 Corinthians 4:1 he writes, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” And again in the same chapter he says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16, 17).
Are you tempted to give up? Are there times when you’re so fatigued that you don’t think you’re going to make it? Maybe it’s a job or a course of education or even a marriage. Maybe on top of the expected hardships of such endeavours you’ve suffered a setback, some explosive problem that has knocked you off balance and threatens to take you out of the race. If you’re a Christian you have heaven on your side. There is too much at stake and the Lord will see you through. Don’t give up. Keep running. Look up… yes, that’s the finish line. Get up and go over it! (See also Hebrews 12:1-3; Galatians 6:9; 2 Timothy 4:7 etc.)