Never Give Up!

Keep looking to Jesus, children! 

          Do you like to run?

Can you run fast? Maybe you can run a long way without getting all out of breath! It is good to walk or run for exercise out in the open air. Sunlight and oxygen help us to be healthy and no one wants to be sick. I guess you know it is not good to run a race just to beat someone else. Of course! You already know that. Do you also know that the Bible talks about a race? It says, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1. Perhaps you know what race it is talking about so think about it while you read this story that happened quite a few years ago. I know the story to be true, as I was there at the time. 

This story is about a girl named Karen who at the time of this incident was about seven years old. This happened at a school in Australia, at a place called Avondale College. Karen was attending this school while her father studied to become a preacher. It was school sports day and had come time for the last race of the day. This race was also the longest! Imagine seven-year-olds running all the way around a big field with chairs as markers. If a student ran on the inside of the chairs they were disqualified, so it was important to watch and be alert!

There were dozens of girls in the race, all about the same age standing on the start line. Bang! Away they went, running as fast as their legs could carry them. Not all girls have the same length of legs, so, of course, some went faster than others. Karen was running with all her might, passing first one girl, then another. A group of girls running together called to her to run with them. But she would not. She passed them, yet there were more girls in front some distance away.

Suddenly, from the sidelines a voice called out in a loud voice, “Disqualified. You’re out.” “Oh no!” thought Karen. “I did not see that chair.” She had mistakenly run on the inside of the chair. Was she going to give up now? Oh no; never! Neither should any dear child give up after making a mistake. You know, Jesus is always ready to help and forgive us when we make a mistake. Remember this!  

Refusing to give up without a fight, Karen ran back the way she had come, back around the chair until on the correct side and on the right path again. Now, nearly all the girls she had once passed were in front. Setting about again with a determined spirit, she ran forward with every nerve and muscle. Without looking back, Karen kept her eyes straight forward. Something was different as she looked ahead.  

Way up front stood a tall distinguished figure of a man she had not seen there before. He was standing to the side near the finish line. Focusing her eyes, Karen suddenly realized that this was her dear father. She could not recall him ever coming to the school before like this. Inside her body and mind, a new energy and excitement flowed as she saw her father quietly watching her. Passing first one and then another, with tired legs and aching side, eyes riveted on those of her father, Karen passed the finish line in second place. The best prize of all was the smile of approval from Dad! He was not a man of many words, and that smile meant more than the apple handed to her for her effort. She knew her father was well pleased with the fact that she did not give up.

Little children, I want to encourage you to never give up with discouragement or despair, but keep looking to Jesus! If we keep running with Jesus we will win the prize of eternal life. If we keep our eyes on Jesus just like Karen kept her eyes on her father, Jesus will help us to the finish line to receive our crown of glory. “Oh, dear Jesus, help every child to look up at You and live.” Amen.

  Karen Stoeckert