After spending a considerable time with the Antioch Christians, Paul set off again for Galatia and Phrygia, retracing his old tracks, one town after another, putting fresh heart into the disciples. Acts 18:23 (TM)
My wife and I watched the Olympic women’s marathon a few weeks ago. Marathons aren’t normally on television, so we found the race fascinating. Early in the race, a particular runner was leading the pack and running strong. She had a great stride and was running with authority as she led the other runners through the course.
The marathon is a long race and I was distracted for a few minutes. When I looked back, the woman who had led the entire race was now behind the lead pack. Her stride had lessened. She was no longer running with authority. Every step looked like a painful struggle. In the words of my friends who are runners, she had "hit the wall".
I forgot about the woman, thinking that she was done. As the race ended, I was surprised to see her enter Olympic stadium with some of the other leaders. She had pushed through the wall and kept running. She found her second wind, and perhaps her third wind, and fourth wind and however many winds she needed to complete the grueling race. While she didn’t win the marathon that day, she finished the race among the leading runners.
The journey is long and the road winds both up and down. We’re all human. We will have days when we run with authority and lead the pack. There will be other days that we hit the wall. I have to believe that many of the early Christians felt powerful elation when they first heard God’s message and believed. They probably were on a spiritual high as Paul shared God’s truth with them and everything was new and exciting. But, Paul moved on, life went back to normal, and they hit the wall. So it was, that Paul visited to refresh their hearts and give them a second wind.
It’s normal to feel both the ups and downs of the journey. We all need our hearts refreshed from time to time.