“But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” — Isaiah 40:31.  The Lord is great and you can trust His promises.  It was April of 2016 and as I was preparing the week before for the Boston Marathon, I was praying and thinking about it and the Lord put this verse from Isaiah on my mind and heart.  This was a great promise from the Lord to focus on heading into a 26.2 mile run.  Truly, if I was going to complete the race, I needed the Lord’s strength and I knew from His word that I could trust the Lord to deliver.  Heading in to Monday morning, that verse continued to be on my heart and I put my trust in Him to complete the race.  I knew right away Monday that I would face more challenges than just the distance.  The temperature was rising and would reach 70°.  The sun was out with no clouds to block it.  The hills on the course would prove to be very challenging.  Knowing all that, I placed my trust in the Lord and His promise from Isaiah.  Here’s where the Lord began to repeatedly show his presence to me as I ran the race.  9:30AM rolls around and I am just getting into my starting corral.  I take a look around and there is a church nearby and they have a sign out front with the verse Isaiah 40:31 on it.  At this point, I get a little choked up and rejoice in the Lord’s assurance.  At 10:00, the race begins with my thoughts focused on the Lord’s promise.  As the race goes, I feel the effects of the heat, sun and hills, but I keep running.  At several points I debated about stopping briefly to rest a moment but as I kept trusting in the Lord’s strength, the temptation would fade away and the Lord would provide the strength to keep me moving.  Miles 17-20 feature three increasingly difficult hills and the Lord continued to give me the strength I needed.  I also received some helpful encouragement from my wife and family during this stretch.  After these 3 hills, it flattened out and just when I was feeling pretty spent, I saw a lady holding a sign.  It wasn’t a flashy sign, but it drew my attention because you know what was written on it?  Isaiah 40:31.  Once again, the Lord reminded me of His presence and strength. As tough as those last 5 miles were, I knew the Lord was with me and his strength was going to get me through.  At last, I finally was able to get to the last turn onto Boylston Street.  I picked up my pace as much as I could even though my body was screaming at me to slow down.  Finally, I finished the race! Praise be to God and all the glory goes to Him!  It was His strength, not mine, that got me through.  When I finally got back to my car and was able to meet up with my wife Ashley, the Lord had one more joy in store for me.  We got talking and before I mentioned to her the awesome things about Isaiah 40:31, she said, “When you ran by at mile 17, the Lord put that verse from Isaiah 40:31 on my heart and I prayed that for you as you ran the rest of the race.”  It was so thrilling to hear that!  I then told her all the other ways the Lord had used that verse that day.  The Lord is so good!  That being said, whoever you are and whatever you are facing, I’m sure that at times you feel like it is as challenging as running a marathon, and the truth is, what you are facing is likely harder than a marathon.  But I guarantee you that if you put your trust in the Lord, He will renew your strength, you will run and not grow weary!  He will be with you the whole way.  Put your trust in Him today and always!
God bless, Pastor Mark