On Second Thought: The impossible goal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2024

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By Marie Harrison 

For the Clemmons Courier

At the beginning of the indoor track season, my son set some lofty goals for himself.

Instead of spreading himself thin and participating in a variety of events, this year, he decided to focus in on the 1600-meter race, which is roughly one mile. He put in the work during cross country season to improve speed and form, and now, he wanted to see what he could do on the track. To say it has been a great indoor season for him is an understatement.

Up until Christmas break, he set a new PR in the 1600 (meter) in almost every single race. Slowly, but surely, he was watching his time chip down, but would he be able to reach his goal of breaking 4:45? Sickness over Christmas break slowed his progress a bit, and coming back to the track in January, his times were a few seconds slower than when he left in December. With the track season ending quickly, each race was crucial with his goal of 4:45 still looming in the distance.

At the so called “Last Chance Meet,” my son went out hard.

From the second the gun went off until he crossed the finish line, he was determined. While he won the race, his time was still slow — 4:51. 

By a stroke of luck, my son qualified for the real last chance meet, the “Mondo Elite” race.

He was elated that he would get one more final shot at reaching his goal. The night before the race, as my husband and I tried to pump him up, my son was having none of it. 

“You don’t understand,” he said, “shaving even one second off your PR is hard work. There is no way I can shave three seconds off.” 

He was adamant, there was no way humanely possible he would ever achieve a 4:45. In his mind, he was resigned to just go out and get a PR. On race day, we filled the stands. Parents, grandparents, siblings, even friends from church and their children, came to cheer on my son. His cheering section was ready, but was he?

As the gun went off, my son sprinted forward, clearing away from the tight pack of runners. Eight laps around the indoor track we watched as my son jockeyed for placement. Passing one runner on the straight away only to be passed by another on the next. First place, third place, second place, every lap around the track brought changes. I anxiously watched the race time, he was flying! But could he maintain this pace?

As the cowbell went off signaling the final lap, my son and the other two top place runners found speed from somewhere deep within them. They were going fast before, but now they were supersonic. I watched the screen for times. The first runner crossed the finish line at 4:41, the second crossed at 4:43. As my son crossed the line in third, I held my breath, and then, the numbers popped up on the screen….4:44. 

He had done it!

Our cheering section went wild! 

There was jumping up and down, there were high fives, there were screams, probably the greatest celebration for a third place finish ever!

And what we witnessed, well, it really was impossible. To shave almost seven seconds off an indoor time in only one week is something that you just simply cannot do. And yet, it happened. You see, with God, there is no such thing as impossible.

In our own human strength, there are so many things we face that are just impossible.

Health struggles, financial struggles, grief and anxiety, there is so much in this world that is just too hard for us to overcome all by ourselves, and yet, with God’s help, impossible can become possible. How many times in the Bible do we see God’s people up against the impossible? The Israelites being chased out of Egypt and standing at the edge of a sea they must cross. The followers of Jesus watching as He is crucified and His dead body removed from a cross. And in all these impossible situations, one thing remained constant: with God, there is no impossible. God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross on dry ground. God raised Jesus from the dead and brought him fully back to life. And God is more than able and willing to help each one of us conquer the “impossible” in our lives if only we will let Him in. 

My son stops and prays before every race, “for your glory God, not mine.” And his sincere prayer is that God will use him in whatever way He sees fit, to bring God glory. Sometimes that looks like graciousness in the face of defeat, but other times, it simply looks like a boy standing up to the impossible, knowing all He has to do is trust that when He is weak, God is strong, and with God, all things are possible.