“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 21:1
Running is an interesting phenomenon. It is one of those things that you can actually enjoy and appreciate while really disliking and detesting. I am a runner…okay, a slow jogger. A few years ago, my dear friend, sister in the Lord, and neighbor (who many of you lovingly know as Goosemama) invited me to run with her on a regular basis to keep fit and healthy. It sounded good to me, so for several years now, we drag ourselves out of bed early in the morning and dutifully hit the pavement adding mileage to our running shoes. We have run hundreds of miles together training for several half marathons over the years. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to train a body to comfortably run 13.1 miles, especially bodies with a few extra years on them. But one thing I have learned is that it is much easier to do when you have someone by your side holding you accountable to do it.
Running has a lot of analogies to life. It can be hard, there are very very hot days or very very cold days that make it a challenge, you often don’t “feel” like doing it, sometimes there is pain (blisters, strains, side aches). There are hills to challenge you. But there are also positives. We enjoy the fresh air of the country side (except when the tractors are out spraying pesticides/herbicides on the fields. It isn’t easy holding your breath while you are running!). We see some beautiful sunrises and amazing cloud formations. The seasons bring magnificent changes in the country side from the blossoming of colorful spring flowers, to the deep rich red fields of milo in the summer. The freshly baled rolls of hay lining the fields mark a preparation for winter and the freshly plowed rows of earth mark the end of a growing season. Goosemama and I spend the time talking about everything under the sun and solving all the worlds problems :). The fellowship is precious.
We are all in this “race” called life and as Christians, the Lord encourages us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. There are many positives and beautiful blessings in the race of life as well as difficulties and hard times. What a blessing to know that we are not running it alone, but we have a Heavenly Father who comes along beside us every step of the way.
There is a story I came a cross about a young man by the name of Derek Redmond, from Britian. He was a runner who had the dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. After many years of training, his opportunity arrived in the 1996 Olympics, which were held in Barcelona, Spain. Mr. Redmond had worked harder than most of us can imagine to get to this place and here he was in the semi finals of the 400 meter race. He took off from the starting blocks giving it everything he had and running like the wind. As he rounded the final turn he could see the finish line. All of a sudden, he felt a painful pop in the back of his leg and fell to the track with a torn hamstring. As medical attendants ran toward him, Derek struggled to his feet and resolutely hobbled toward the finish line, refusing their help. He was determined to finish the race, his face contorted with pain. A large man came running from the stands, pushing through security guards, to Derek’s side.
It was Derek’s Dad. With the love of a parent seeing his child in pain he told his son, “You don’t have to do this”
“Yes, I do,” said Derek.
“Well, then,” said his father, “we’re going to finish this together.”
We may struggle and face many obstacles, but we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will never leave us or forsake us. He will be by our side helping us along when the pain is too great. We have a Savior, who left his place in heaven and has experienced greater pain than we could even imagine. He finished the race. If we will keep our eyes on him, how can we help but finish the race?