Terry Fox. A name well known throughout the world. A name that would have
remained completely unknown, had it not been for an extraordinary battle against
Terry had always been a successful athlete. When he was eighteen years-old however, he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer), and his right leg had to be amputated fifteen centimeters above his knee.
While in the hospital he noticed that many of the cancer patients were even younger than he was. He desperately wanted to bring them some hope. But how? As he lay there rehabilitating, an idea began to form in his mind: Why not run across Canada, with his prosthesis, to raise money for cancer research? He even gave his dream a name: "The Marathon of Hope".
It took three years for Terry's health to stabilize enough for him to begin his dream, but on April 12, 1980, in St. John's Newfoundland, his run began. Though he didn't initially stir up much attention, he persevered, running 42 kilometers a day. Eventually enthusiasm for his endeavors grew, and by the time he reached Ontario, he was greeted by thousands of people whenever he entered a new city.
143 days and over five thousand kilometers later, cancer once again stuck up its ugly head, this time in Terry's lungs. Just outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario, he was forced to stop. He died on June 28, 1981 at the age of twenty-two.
Terry may have succumbed to cancer before his Marathon of Hope was completed, but his legacy continues on and is growing stronger every year. As a result of what Terry Fox attempted to do, most Canadian towns and schools host a 10-kilometer walk/run-a-thon in his name every year, and millions of dollars are collected for cancer research. In fact, the run is now being hosted in several other countries around the world as well. Though Terry never completed his dream, he succeeded in birthing hope in millions of people across the world. His dream was truly fulfilled!
I had the privilege of taking part in such a walk with my school this year. It was quite overwhelming to be walking down the streets of our little town with four hundred kids cheering for Terry. Their cries affected the public they came in contact with. Cars honked, passersby waved and whistled, everyone joined in with the students to cry out against cancer.
While experiencing such fanfare, I couldn't help but think of what it will be like when Jesus returns to our planet. I envision even greater enthusiasm from His children who have been waiting for Him. The real hope of humanity will have come back to take His children home as promised! If those 400 cheering kids overwhelmed me now, how much more overwhelmed will I feel it on that glorious day!
"Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They're his people, he's their God. He'll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good - tears gone, crying gone, pain gone - all the first order of things gone." (Rev 21:3-4 The Message)
Some will be caught unaware, however. Some will not welcome His arrival. In fact they will curse it: "And then pandemonium, everyone and his dog running for cover - kings, princes, generals, rich and strong, along with every commoner, slave or free. They hid in mountain caves and rocky dens, calling out to mountains and rocks, 'Refuge! Hide us from the One Seated on the Throne and the wrath of the Lamb! The great Day of their wrath has come - who can stand it?'" (Rev 6:15-17 The Message)
The greatest moment in earth's history will be greeted with unimaginable cheering by some, but with wild terror by others. What will determine who is terrorized and who cheers? The condition of the heart. Those who have lived for themselves will be terrified. Those who have developed a personal, intimate relationship with the One on the throne, those who love others the way He loves them, will welcome Him with open arms, just like a lover welcoming his fiancée after a long absence. "With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back." (2 Cor 3:12 The Message)
Are you prepared for Jesus' return? When He finally appears in the shining clouds, what will your reaction be?
"Honk for Jesus!"
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