Another post from Philip Jackson, a colleague and friend of mine from Macedonia. Phil serves as the field leader and church planting team leader in the city of Skopje. Phil also runs marathons, and his first full marathon was the Athens Classic Marathon.
|Alexander the Great Marathon from Pella to Thessaloniki|
His name is Jovica (pronounced Yovitsa). We did several long runs together in the preparation phase before making the drive to Thessaloniki with other runners from our Delta Marathon Club. We didn’t start side by side, and early on in the race, I lost track of him among the 800 other runners. But after I came up behind him at the 18K mark, we decided to stay together. Little did I know then, how helpful that was going to be for me. While it was my third marathon, it was his 13th, and he was just the partner I needed for the “wall” that was to come.
|Two US marathoners finish 10th and 11th in London Olympics|
It was at that point that “Coach” Jovica took over. He said to me, “At the next station, you’re going to get a leg massage, and get plenty to drink.” I did. Unfortunately, that station provided a clear view of a hill ahead of us, a bridge. However, after the quick massage to the legs and the Gatorade, Jovica said, “we are going to walk over that bridge, and at the other side, we’ll start running again.” Sure enough, by the time we made it over the bridge, energy was slowly making its way back into my body, and we started to run. As we went along I started feeling good again, great even, partly because I hadn’t quit and partly because I knew that we were getting close to completion.
|Phil & Lynn Jackson|
Years earlier my wonderful wife and blessed life partner helped me through a different wall, a kind of wall I had never experienced before. We had been serving God for over almost 15 years, 10 of those in Macedonia, and I had lost my love for ministry, lost my desire to serve God, lost my love for life. In a word, I was depressed. I had never been depressed in my life, never thought it was possible really. I was typically the “glass is half full” type and optimistic; I just always knew things would get better. Not this time. The wall was looming large in front of me, and leaving Macedonia sounded really good, at times even “right.” By God’s grace, I kept getting up in the morning to meet with Him, kept running and exercising, kept going to work at 9:00 am, and kept coming home at 5:00 pm where Lynn would wait for me with open arms. I used to say that when I doubted God’s love during that period, Lynn’s love for me was “God’s love with skin,” reminding me that He truly did care.