DayBreaks for 09/05/11 – Stay Awake
The year was 1983. Australia was hosting their ultramarathon, a grueling 573.7 mile foot race from Sydney to Melbourne. It takes days to run, and great professional runners from all over the world came to participate. Just before the race started, a 61-year-old farmer named Cliff Young, wearing overalls and goloshes over his boots, walked up to the registration table and requested a number to enter the race. The people at the registration table thought he was joking and they laughed. But Young was adamant, “No, I’d really like to run.” So they gave him a number and pinned it to his old overalls.
Young walked over to the start of the race with all the professional runners, who were decked out in all their running regalia. They looked at him like he was crazy. The crowd laughed at him. They laughed even louder when the gun went off and the race began, because the professional runners had sculpted bodies and beautiful strides, but not Cliff Young. He ran with an awkward, goofy-looking shuffle. Someone from the crowd yelled, “Get that old fool off the track!”
Five days, 14 hours, and four minutes later, at 1:25 in the morning, Cliff Young crossed the finish line of the 573.7 mile ultra-marathon – he had won. He didn’t win by a matter of minutes or even an hour or two. The second place runner was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. Young had set a new world record for the ultra-marathon. The press mobbed him wondering what kind of special running shoes he must have used, they rummaged through his backpack wondering what he’d survived on (he’d lived primarily on pumpkin seeds and water) and then they discovered the secret to his success: Cliff Young had shuffled his way to victory without ever sleeping. The other runners would run for 18 hours straight, and then stop and sleep for three or four hours. He endured running five days, 14 hours, and four minutes at the age of 61 without a minute of sleep.
It is so easy to get sleepy when it comes to our faith. We cat-nap for even a few moments and you can bet that the enemy will be sneaking up behind you with some temptation. And if we aren’t alert, if we don’t stay awake, we risk, as Jesus said, not having the strength to escape what is to come and to stand before the Son of Man. That’s too much to risk.
Staying awake includes being aware of what is going on in our world and how it relates to a Biblical (I won’t say Christian because far too Christians don’t have a Biblical world view) world view. The enemy is clever and packages things in such a way that they sound good and slide right past us if we aren’t awake. We need to be alert to his schemes. We tend to think that sleep makes us stronger (and that may be true physically), but Jesus says that when it comes to spiritual things, sleep is dangerous!
PRAYER: Satan is clever, God, and he wears us down and wearies us. We grow deaf to the real meaning behind his cleverly disguised phrases that are meant to lull us to sleep and not stand for righteousness. Wake us up and help us stay awake! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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