“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10
It was a very ambitious endeavor. Even they admitted that. Perhaps they were crazy, but they wanted to challenge themselves anyway.
Army Maj. Scotty Smiley and his brother-in-law, Andy Cooper, were set to compete in an Ironman triathlon in Coeur de’Lane, Idaho. To tackle something so demanding was not new for Scotty; he’d summited Mt. Rainier, hiked Denali in Alaska, surfed and many other difficult challenges. There’s a reason he was awarded an ESPY for Greatest Outdoor Athlete. To do an Ironman was only the latest thing on his list, and Andy was willing to do it with him.
There is one very important thing about Scotty, though: He has accomplished all of this after becoming blind! A suicide bomb while he was serving in Iraq left Scotty sightless 15 years ago. Thus, Andy and Scotty would have to swim, bike and run literally tethered together so Scotty could find his way.
The weather on the day of the race dawned with record-breaking heat and temps soaring into the low 100s. The swim (2.4 miles) and the bike portion (112 miles on a tandem bike) went along fairly well for Andy and Scotty, but the heat exhaustion began to really catch up with them during the running portion (26.2 miles). Many competitors were dropping out of the race due to heat-related issues, so just finishing was commendable.
Partway through the literal marathon, the guys weren’t sure if they could finish in the allotted time. But Scotty would later say that, because of his military background, he knew that if they kept up a certain pace and didn’t stop, they would be fine. Sometimes they couldn’t even run and had to maintain a brisk walk just to stay up to speed, but the goal was to just keep moving. “If we stopped, even for an extended breather at a hydration station,” he said, “I knew we’d never get going again.” Thanks to his instincts and their dogged determination, both men crossed the finish line in the allotted time with only minutes to spare.
Maybe your life has been like mine lately and you find yourself in a place that seems miles away from the finish, exhausted and weary from being pushed beyond your known capabilities to endure. Like with Scotty and Andy, when others are finding it impossible to continue, stopping or dropping out, that seems like a tempting option. And yet, something inside you tells you that the only way to is through.
The race called “life” may be catching up to you in a big way and you may be sensing the enemy’s call to give in. Just remember that a moving target is always harder to hit than a stationary one, and as long as you’re still keeping the pace, you are going to finish. Don’t worry if you’re even down to a crawl. All God is concerned about is that you don’t give up. Tell yourself to just keep moving. It’s a truth that will serve you well no matter what you face in life.
— Katherine Singer
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