When we walk through the darkest days of our lives and we feel there is no hope, we know in our hearts that God has not forsaken us and that Christ walks with us. But we experience moments of overthinking and underknowing that cause us to question and to doubt. As we transition out of the depths of grief and pain and back into the arms of Christ, we realize that nothing compares to our life in Christ.
One day we awaken and realize that our thoughts and actions once again center in knowing Jesus Christ and that our faithfulness in Christ guides our journey. The challenges, the fears, the questions, and the concerns pale and fade from sight. We focus on the challenges Christ puts before us.
Paul lays out his religious credentials in these verses. His relationship with Christ has generated a total reversal of values: The matters of gain and loss have changed dramatically. Paul asserts that gaining Christ involves us in his suffering and his resurrection. Our greatest knowing of God in Christ comes through our suffering. And because Christ Jesus has made us “his own,” we press on in active anticipation and hope.
Have we finished the race? No way! But we remain in pursuit of the goal. As we pursue the goal that lies before us, we can look back over our shoulder and see the road we have traveled, the potholes we have missed, the speed bumps we have crossed, and how far we have come. But we set all that aside because we still have a long way to go. We do not lose sight of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. That call keeps us moving forward with eagerness.

Heavenly Father, we pray for the fortitude to pursue the goal of your high calling and for the strength to grasp the prize. Amen.

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