There was once a boy named Joey who was born with clubfeet. The doctors assured his parents that with treatment he would be able to walk normally. But they cautioned that he would never be able to run. The first three years of his life were spent in surgery, casts and braces. By the time he was eight, you wouldn’t know he had a problem by seeing him. The children in the neighborhood ran around as most children do during play. Joey would jump right in and run and play too. His parents never told him that he wouldn’t be able to run as well as the other children, so he never knew any different.
In the seventh grade, he decided to try out for the cross-country team. Every day he trained with the team. He worked harder and ran more than any of the others. Perhaps he sensed that the abilities that seemed to come naturally to so many others did not come naturally to him. Although the entire team runs, only the fastest runners actually compete in the race. His parents never told him he probably would never make the team, so he didn’t know.
Joey continued to run four to five miles a day, every day, even the day he had a 103-degree fever. His family was worried, so they went to look for him after school. They found him running…alone. When they asked him how he felt, he said, “Okay,” and continued to run two more miles. The sweat ran down his face and his eyes were glassy from his fever. Yet he looked straight ahead and kept running. He was never told he couldn’t run with a 103-degree fever, so he didn’t know.
Two weeks later, the names of the team runners were called. Joey was number six on the list. He had made the team. Joey was in the seventh grade—the other team members were all eighth graders. He was never told he shouldn’t expect to make the team. His parents never told him he couldn’t do it, so he didn’t know. He just did it…and so can you. Regardless of where you are today, there is hope for tomorrow. You can be restored. Keep the faith, don’t get sidetracked and never give up.
In life, we are all faced with challenges that seem like brick walls. Most start out strong with good intentions, yet lack the self-discipline to complete the race and finish wrong. Obtaclse arise in all shapes and sizes. Most, however, are merely illusions. They seem like mountains that are insurmountable, yet when faced, the giant shrinks. Regardless of where you have been in life, remember this: It’s not how you start that matters, it’s how you finish. Stay focused and finish strong.