What I learned on my way to Maui

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your soul.” (Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message)


In the book Brain Rules, John Medina, a molecular biologist and director of the Brain Center at Seattle Pacific University, writes, “If you can establish cooperative agreements with some of your neighbors, you can double your power even if you do not personally double your strength” (43-44). John goes on to describe the benefit of resilience that we experience when we are working in community and have a shared goal.

In 2010, my husband, Scott, and I, with two other team members, took on the challenge of a long distance sailing race—from Victoria to Maui! I’ll never forget the third day. The waves and wind were so strong that we broached! (For you non-sailors, that means the boat turned on its side.)

I fell from one side of the boat to the other (which at this point, was top to bottom) and broke four ribs in seven places. We were 300 miles off the Oregon coast, way too far out for a helicopter rescue.

At that time I learned two things.

First, I had to keep my eyes on the finish line. As the boat sailed on, seeing the destination draw closer and closer gave me hope that we could finish and that I would eventually get help. The pain was excruciating, don’t get me wrong. But with constant prayer for God to give His strength and ability to endure, it was surprisingly manageable.

And we did finish the race.

Lesson number two? Going through very challenging times is best done with others. Just as John Medina writes in his book, during a disaster, the brain works best in community. Because our team of four pulled together with a common goal and plan to achieve it, we not only finished our race with an injured passenger, we also set a record for the smallest boat ever to cross the finish line first!!

A team not only provides resilience, a good team also will double the power!

So when it comes to running the race that the writer of Hebrews encourages, I am so thankful we have pioneers who have blazed the way and that now we have each other to run with and share stories, to train with and learn discipline. Because not only do we want to reach this finish line ourselves, our desire is that we’ll see others come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, too.

So today I have a question for you: Who is helping you? Who’s on your team? And how have you, together, “stayed the course” as you endeavor to introduce others to Him?

Susan Burbank
Q Place Lead City Catalyst, Seattle

This article has 1 comments

  1. Nancy Klaassen

    This is a great story, Susan! Thanks for the encouraging reminder to build a team and stay in the race!