Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Chicot Verses 5

I find myself still in need of Chicot verses. After a good training cycle last week, I am much more relaxed than I was. But I still get uptight and I hope I haven't let my lesson of walking alone go to waste. Today's Bible selection is an obvious one: Philippians 4:13. Before I give the verse, however, let me share a little tip I find handy when flipping through God's Word looking for some of those small epistles. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians can be a little confusing, the order I mean. A little mnemonic device I picked up along the is, Go eat pop corn. That gives the order, so as soon as you find one, you know which way to turn to find the one you are looking for. Go = Galatians,  eat = Ephesians, etc. So here is the verse:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The basic meaning is obvious, and surely it is apparent why this verse is on the lips and pens of so many believers. This passage does have a context and at the risk of sounding ridiculous, the context is the Bible. This doesn't mean I can do anything one could name "by Him who strengthens me," but rather I can do anything He wills. For instance, I could not become the most accomplished serial killer of all time by claiming this truth. The context of the Bible rules that out. But whatever God leads me to do, I can do it because He gives the strength. There, however, is the rub. Is the Chicot Challenge God's will for my life? It is easy to think so when the planning and training is running along smoothly. But every March when weather and pool closings and interruptions seem to conspire against me to make the swim an impossibility, I wrestle with this very issue, God's will. Right now, I believe. I believe God has set me on this path, and that He will help me accomplish this goal. If He is for me who or what can be against me? 

Admittedly, almost all ultra-marathon events, the Chicot Challenge included, are laced with self-centeredness. I want desperately to do this as part of my goal-setting personality and to enjoy the fulfillment of something I have to dream about, plan over, and train for over a long period of time in order to pull off. I get a charge out of that. But there is more to it than that. This swim does raise money for a good cause, a health charity that touches lives right here where I and my family and neighbors live. Another aim is to raise awareness of the disease. Yes, I know people know diabetes is in our world. It seems to me, however, that many people are not aware of the risks they themselves face nor are they aware of their ability to reduce those risks by implementing some not so radical changes in their behaviors. 

Furthermore, I hope this series of swims sets an example on a couple of fronts. I like to think my son's recent fund-raising run for the same charity, the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, was in part inspired by my example. I like to think that, although I am well aware that his civic consciousness is infinitely higher than mine and for that I can take no credit. I also like to think that if I do this swim long enough, going farther every year as I get older, that some people will be inspired to become more physically active, even late in life, and that they will see ageing not as an inevitable sentence to the couch, to obesity, to bad health. 

I like to think.