6 Months Later...The Struggle is Real

6 Months Later...The Struggle is Real

Posted on October 18, 2017


One of my favorite moments in my last 12 years of racing triathlons was witnessing nearly two dozen Grace Triathlon Team members cross the finish line at the MuncieMan.

Several of them had never attempted a triathlon in their life, but in response to the #thestruggleisreal sermon series in May, they accepted the challenge to train for and compete in this multi-sport race to swim, bike and run.

Some raced to stay in shape. Some raced to get in shape. And some raced because they got in shape.

Take for example Robyn Mercer who had bariatric surgery last year. She lost 167 pounds, trained with our team this summer, and crossed the finish line to the embrace of her daughters and husband Mike who said simply, "She worked really hard."

Then there's Aaron Ward. Eighteen months ago, Aaron's life was spinning out of control. He hit rock bottom, surrendered his life to Christ, was baptized, and has been on the daily road to recovery through the support and love of his community. Aaron crossed the finish line in tears and gratitude.

Both Robyn and Aaron will attest that the struggle IS real.

At our pasta dinner on the eve of the race, I shared this verse to remind everyone of the real race we are in:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1)

Each athlete demonstrated extraordinary grit to sign up for the race, commit to the training, and give it all they had -- even when things didn't turn out the way they expected. Steve Burns had mechanical issues on his bike but had the grit to finish the race. Abby Bickel, who admitted she "hated" to run, missed the turnaround, ran an extra 2 miles but persevered and crossed the finish line. She pushed herself farther than she thought she could. And all of fought unexpected cold weather, wind and chop on the swim. 

What I observed from the Grace Triathlon Team holds lessons for all of us in our race with Christ:

  1. Keep your eye on the prize. Set a challenging goal and keep the finish line in mind. "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:14)

  2. Don't go it alone. When you face a challenging goal, you will go farther in community. "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) 

  3. Stay the course, even when it hurts. Persevere through hard times. Don't ever give up. "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." (Romans 5:3-4)

I can’t say enough how proud I am of everyone who took the challenge from the series, trained and competed. Your example is an inspiration to us all.

What's Your Struggle?

Whatever it is, we want to face it with you! If you are not involved or just don't know where to start, here are two simple steps. 

  1. Pray. We want to pray with you and pray for you. Let us know how we can do that by going to gracechurch.us/prayer.

  2. Connect. Like we said above, you need to be surrounded by a community who loves and supports you. We have so many ways to connect at Grace, learn more here.



Thank you for this very encouraging story!

Posted by Mark Hartman on October 27, 2017 @ 7:15 am