“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
Sand. So much sand. Nothing is hidden from the winds that are constantly shifting sands along this corridor that have been repeatedly restored by DOT equipment. Our attempts to hide the work of the relentless push of waves and winds is temporary. Our efforts to maintain the lifeline of Highway 12 for the southern Outer Banks is costly. Our inability to hold back the ocean is exposed every time those waves make their way over the dunes and onto the asphalt of Highway 12.
Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Maybe the heavy equipment operator is thinking about this as they work on rebuilding the dune line every time the ocean has its way. It’s the resiliency of our brothers and sisters on the island, every time they face another Highway 12 closure. It’s the hope in what lies ahead.
Paul’s words seem especially timely as I near the end of this Lenten season, perhaps wanting to forget and rather eager to consider what lies ahead, for the truth is, what lies ahead is Easter. These forty days of reflecting and repenting, of confessing and contemplation, will lead to the celebration of Easter. But we still have a few more days to go.
I am appreciative of Paul’s imagery of a race, in my own attempts to get three runs in each week. Running forces me to look ahead. There’s absolutely no comfort in twisting myself to look at what’s behind me. And there’s always a straining forward to what lies ahead and the goal of finishing. As Paul says, I press on because Christ Jesus has made me his own. That’s fuel to keep me running.
Paul tells us he has not obtained or reached the goal, and he has not arrived or made it. The scholars tell us that true maturity is knowing we have not arrived, and because of that, we keep at it. We keep aiming and running. We keep straining forward.
Running and driving still,
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