Last October in Vienna, Kenyan Olympic champion Eluid Kipchoge made history. He became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, a feat that had long seemed impossible.
After running the 26.2 mile course in one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds, Kipchoge drew comparisons to Sir Roger Bannister. Bannister was the Briton who in 1954 became the first person to run one mile in under four minutes, an achievement also once thought to be unattainable.
Kipchoge said something very significant after his race: “I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.”
Why did he say that? Because Kipchoge knew that a funny thing had happened after Bannister’s victory: other people began breaking the four-minute mile as well. They suddenly saw that it was possible, and were inspired to believe that if Bannister could do it, so could they. The barrier he broke for people was just as much a mental one as a physical one.
Do you have a “four-minute mile” in your life? Are there things you would like to achieve, but you feel they’re impossible?
Take courage, because God specializes in breaking barriers!
Scripture gives us wonderful examples of people achieving seemingly unattainable dreams, overcoming barriers that held them back, and winning victories that no one could have predicted. These precedents can help break the mental barriers we have, and inspire us to believe that if God can perform a miracle for others, He can do so for us, too.
If you’ve been trying for years to have children, take heart from the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament. They desperately wanted a child, and God had promised that they would have a special son. But they were both well advanced in years by this time, and past the age of child-bearing. Despite these barriers, God miraculously enabled them to have the child He had promised, Isaac. God smashed the barrier of what they thought was possible: He broke their “four-minute mile.”
If you’ve messed up so much that you feel God can never use you, take hope from the example of Peter in the New Testament. Peter was impulsive and a bit hot-headed. At one point he actually denied that he even knew Jesus, not once, but three times. He no doubt thought that he’d disqualified himself from God’s service forever. But God restored Peter, and he became a key leader of the early Church. Peter’s mental barrier of failure was forever broken after that, and he became a bold champion for Christ.
If you feel you’re insignificant and will never amount to much, take courage from the story of Gideon. He was from a minor tribe, and felt himself to be an unimportant member of his family. His nation was under siege from the enemy, and it seemed there was nothing he could do about it. But a visitation from an angel broke Gideon’s “four-minute mile.” God empowered him to believe he could be a mighty warrior and help defeat the enemy. Gideon did just that, and his barrier of feeling inadequate melted away for good.
By reading Biblical stories and modern accounts of how God has blessed, restored and provided for others, we can gain confidence that He can do so for us as well. Barriers in our minds that tell us it’s impossible can be shattered. We suddenly realize that with God’s help, we can do more than we thought we could.
Our “four-minute miles” are broken forever, and we can see dreams come true that once seemed far-fetched.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12 NIV)
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.