Four years ago I had the unbelievable opportunity to participate in the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was unimaginable I was there. I looked around at the sea of runners thinking, how did I even get here? I didn’t feel worthy to be there, nor did I feel qualified even though I met the requirements to enter. This race was for elite runners and I wasn’t even close to that category.
However, none of that mattered once the gun went off. Everyone started running full speed ahead to achieve the same goal—crossing the finish line. This is where we were put to the test.
Were all the early morning training runs and nutritional diet going to pay off to get me to the end?
Marathoners are a different breed. Who in their right mind gets up at 4 a.m. and runs 20 miles? I didn’t consider myself a marathoner, just someone who needed to put the pain to the pavement. I was searching for a place to heal and God led me to running. Running is where I spent time with God. In my training God taught me so much. He showed me my hands and feet weren’t really mine anyway, they were His. He showed me I wasn’t really running for myself, but for Him.
When I was weak, His strength carried my feet further than I could ever carry myself. Running was a way to use the feet He had given me for His greater purpose. Running was a representation of what my son was doing in heaven. Even though he never had the chance to walk on this earth, he is now running in heaven.
At the beginning of the race many runners ask each other, “What is your goal?” That means what time do you want to complete the race in? Most runners say they run the race to have fun and others say they just want to finish. Every runner receives a medal for finishing the race. At the finish line it’s usually a time to celebrate the ending to the grueling endeavor someone just spent months training for. But this time it was different. In 2013 was the year of the Boston bombings. This day will forever be engrained in my mind. Moments before the bombs went off, strangers congratulated me for finishing because they saw the medal around my neck. After the blasts, congratulation turned into ‘I’m sorry.’
The instant the bombs went off the medal around my neck lost it’s meaning. It no longer mattered that I completed the race. What mattered were the lives that were injured and lost. Their lives were more important than than winning the medal.
What happened that day was the result of pure evil. Satan may be able to change the meaning of worldly medals, but there is one thing he can never take away or change—“the crown of life.”
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”
In the Bible there are many uses for crowns. Gold crowns are worn by kings and queens to symbolize their royal status (2 Samuel 12:30). Crowns are worn by high priests to represent their holy status (Exodus 29:6, 39:30). Another type of crown is a wreath of flowers (made of laurel, pine or olive branches), which were worn at banquets to honor someone in celebration. These crowns were also used at the Isthmian games and won as athletic prizes in Corinth.
All of these crowns mentioned above—their meaning can be changed in an instant. The word used to describe the crown mentioned in Revelations 6:2, is ‘stephanos’ which means ‘the victor’s crown.’
There is no amount of evil Satan can achieve to change the meaning of the victor’s crown.
Ironically the crown of thorns worn by Jesus the day he was persecuted, is considered the most victorious crown we can wear as Christians. What the Romans used to mock and persecute Jesus, God used for His ultimate victory.
The victor’s crown is a symbol of victory.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelations 2:10
There is no crown greater than the victor’s crown.
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”
Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt defeated?
I sure have many times. Chances are in our defeat, we are listening to the lies Satan is whispering in our ears. In the race we run, we don’t have to be extraordinary or wait until we achieved something great. In our worthlessness God gives us his worth through Jesus Christ. Satan can never take away our crowns when we wear the crown of life. We can rejoice because the promise of God’s truth reigns victoriously over our feelings of our defeat.
Satan is the defeated one, not us.
Never let the enemy take away your crown. We are victorious in what Jesus Christ has already gone ahead and done for us! I would love to hear from you! Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Leave your comments below. Have a blessed week!
a portion of this post is a modified version from chapter 22 of “Waiting for Heaven: Finding beauty in the pain and the struggle” by Heather Gillis.