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Facing the Uncertainty of the Last Six Miles

Several years ago I ran a marathon. I trained hard to be as prepared as possible, but there's a part of a marathon that's always hard to prepare for. A marathon is just a little over 26 miles, but experts tell you not to run over 20 miles in your training. That means the last six miles of a marathon are "no man's land." You don't know what you're getting yourself into. You may hit a wall. You may have cramps. You only know that it's going to be tough. But you also try to believe that if you train hard enough, you will be ready and will be able to cross that glorious finish line.

We read a passage like Luke 21, and it's like we're reading about the last six miles of a marathon. We know it's going to be hard, and we know that there is nothing we can do now to replicate what it will be like then. But Jesus has told us what to look for and how to be prepared—how to cross the finish line. We prepare by being wise and discerning about the false claims of religious hucksters. We prepare by resting in the fact that God is sovereign and whatever happens to us is part of his plan. We prepare by trusting that he's creating opportunities for us to bear witness, and he'll give us the words we need when we need them. We prepare by learning to endure hardship so that when greater hardship comes, we don't fall by the wayside. We prepare by refusing to allow ourselves to buy the lie that the things of this world are the most important things. We prepare by praying each day for God's strength to face whatever the last six miles of life may hold for us.

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