I like the Rocky movies featuring Sylvester Stallone as an underprivileged boxer named Rocky who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Philadelphia, only to come out of nowhere in the original movie to fight the reigning world champion boxer. The world then watched his career in seven more movies, arguably one of the most successful sequels of all time.
In Rocky I, the final scene HERE shows a battered Rocky, eyes swollen shut, yelling for his love, Adrian.* Viewers are brought to tears, not because he is attractive, or even that he is calling for his love, but because Rocky never should have been standing at the end of the full 15 rounds.
He should not have been standing.
I think I picture myself like Rocky at the end of this raced called life. I imagine myself looking pretty banged up by then because life is hard and I am already showing the wear and tear. When feeling like that, I often think, “At least I am still standing just like Rocky was, and that kind of victory still counts, right?”
I am not certain such a perspective is biblical, however. I don’t know what the end of my life will be like at a physical level, but spiritually, God says we grow stronger every day as we walk with Him. In Christ, we are a new creation, are being transformed and will stand complete at the end of the story.
2 Corinthians 5:17–Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Ezekiel 36:26–And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Romans 12:2–Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 1:6–And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Last week my daughter ran her first half-marathon. This is what she looked like when she crossed the finish line.
Look at that.
I can’t get it out of my mind. Head up, back straight, face set like flint. She isn’t hobbling, bloody, crawling or wobbly like Rocky. Please understand, I would have cheered just as loudly and been just as proud if she had crossed the finish line struggling physically, or even if she had left the race early. This picture represents how I want to cross the line spiritually. I want to cross the finish line of life looking this strong on the inside, no matter my condition on the outside.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7)
This has been a big year in our family. Each of our daughters has passed state exams (for Occupational Therapy and Nursing), finished a half-marathon, and started her first adult job. As exciting as it is to watch our children step into their destinies, that can leave parents feeling like we are stepping out of ours. As I age, I feel the world dismissing me more and more, but the truth about my life (and yours) is found in the verses above.The world is wrong.
See you at the finish line, everyone!
Picture Explanation: I waited and prayed while my daughter and her boyfriend finished. In May, she had been scheduled to run a half-marathon with her sister, but woke up with an injured foot, so her sister ran alone (pictured left). Determined not to waste all of that training, the injured daughter then signed up for this week’s race in Atlanta. Nothing stopped her this time. (*Fandango Movie Clips account on YouTube)
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Thank you Laurie. That’s exactly how I want to finish. For 26 years you’ve been there each time I got up bloodied. No husband is luckier than I.
I am your Adrian. For always.
Both in running our race and standing firmly with our armor on and in place, I’m running and standing with you, cheering you on besides! I’m proud of the O’Connor clan!! Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Yes, I want to finish well too! I want to keep training and staying spiritually fit. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus, not looking at the past, but straining toward what is ahead. I want to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which god has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Thank you for your example, Laurie!
Right with you, sister.