As anyone involved in archery will tell you, hitting the target is all about proper aim. From the archer’s perspective, the point of aim may be above or below the actual target, depending on the distance to the target. In fact, the ability to aim accurately at one’s target is vital to nearly every sport; football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and bowling are only a few examples of sports that require a player to aim well.
Unfortunately, as a child, my athletic skills were nearly non-existent. I was extremely nearsighted and wore thick glasses that limited my freedom in playing sports. Sadly, I doubt my athletic performance would have improved with perfect vision, as I was truly not well-coordinated. One year I made the mistake of signing up for a bowling league. My friend’s father was an excellent bowler, and he kindly took it upon himself to coach me in the effort to help me improve my score. He made the erroneous assumption that simply understanding HOW to aim the ball would solve my problem. However, I could probably have explained to someone else all the details of his instructions on throwing the ball; I understood them perfectly. Alas — I simply was unable to make my body cooperate with what I knew it should do! At the end of the bowling season, to my chagrin, I was selected as the most improved bowler in our league. I was given a patch for my jacket; despite my embarrassment, I dutifully sewed the patch on my jacket. Upon seeing the words “most improved bowler,” other people I met would often ask me with admiration what my scores had been. Humiliated, I was compelled to confess my average score had improved from 63 to 95 — abysmal at best!
Most of us are all too conscious of how often we fail to hit the target in other areas of our lives as well. In spite of constant practice, study, and even understanding what we should do and how we should do it, we miss the mark so often, at least in our own eyes. Life is replete with challenges, and we cannot possibly meet every challenge perfectly. I have often disappointed myself as well as others. I have found it impossible to be the athlete, student, musician, wife, sister, mother, and even the friend I would like to be. When it comes to my spiritual walk, I also often fall short. However, there IS good news! By living a flawless life and dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus already hit the target on my behalf. He completely paid for the times my aim was too low, too high, or way off the mark. What’s even better is that He empowers me to do the things I am patently unable to do in my own strength. All I need to do is fix my sights on Him and keep my focus on His face while I run. His strength and power sustain me and more than compensate for my weaknesses (His strength is made perfect in my weakness! — 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Of late, Hebrews 12:1-2 has become one of my favorite passages: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is my goal; He is my target. He is my focus, no matter how bumpy or rocky, uneven, slippery, or muddy the path might be. His glory and goodness sustain me! He delights to draw me to Himself, and my success does not depend on me, but rather on Him! All I need to do is be willing to run to Him.