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Looking Forward: Remain Steadfast and Receive a Crown of Life.

In order to graduate from Basic Training in the army, I had to complete a road march.  This simple task consisted of walking 15 miles.  Even today in my 50s, this is not a big task, so in my 20s, it should have been a piece of cake. But it wasn’t. It was difficult, both physically, and mentally.  But it was more difficult mentally.  For the 15 miles I had to carry a full rucksack on my back — something that I thought was pretty heavy at the time, but later learned when I got to my unit that it was actually pretty light.  I had to carry my chemical and biological warfare gear, two full canteens, and my rifle. The march had to be completed in battle dress uniform, and in clunky combat boots.  When the march started, the rifle seemed light.  It was only about 7 pounds — much less than the rucksack on my back.  But with each piece of a mile, it became heavier and heavier, until it felt like it weighed 50 pounds. I shifted it around on my shoulder, put it on top of my rucksack, moved it to my suspenders, and cradled it in my arms, but none of that offered any lasting relief from the unrelenting weight of the weapon. That weight combined itself with what seemed like an endless passage of steps and miles.  Step after step passed beneath my feet, and it felt as though the simple walk would never end.  In one portion of it, I had to carry the weight of that rifle through a grueling expanse of loose sand. This sand became an enemy to my calves and thighs, and I hated it.  Some friends dropped out of this simple road march. They failed.  I resolved from the beginning, however, that I would not quit.  I focused my mind on the goal of completing the march, so that I could enjoy the benefits of graduation. I looked forward to my goals, and I looked back upon what my drill sergeants, and what the wise people in my life had taught me about what I am capable of doing when my priorities are properly aligned.  I forced each step to comply with my goal, and I forced each muscle to submit to my mind. I was intentional about that. As my body became relentless in its complaints, I became relentless in my mindset.   The bible tells us in James 1:12 that the man (or woman) who remains steadfast will receive a crown of life, and that God has promised this to those who love him. So when your life’s road march seems relentless, and each step a weary task, remember that God has promised you a good end.  Keep your mind focused on him, and you will have the endurance to complete the task, and you’ll be rewarded with life.

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