“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
I have always liked watching the Olympic field and track competitions. Yes, even with my short fire-hydrant shaped frame, I love watching the runners take their mark, explode with energy at the sound of the gun, and run for their lives toward the finish line. The slow motion replays reveal so much. I see anticipation in the starting gates; watch their form as they take off, first head down then upright as their strides become long and focused. Every muscle in their bodies working for a common goal and that is to win the race. Spectators in the arena become participants in spirit as they cheer their man or woman on toward the finish.
What the cameras do not show, however, are the years of training and sacrifice the runners endure to participate in these races. Many days of strenuous stretching, running when they feel good and when they don’t feel good, days of sore muscles, sometimes torn ligaments, shin splints, and numerous falls resulting in scrapes and bruises. They endure times of loneliness when they must discipline themselves and abstain from ordinary events. But one look at the faces of those who win and it is evident that it has all been worth it for that one golden moment of triumphant victory.
Father, that is how I see my life in Christ. I am in a race marked out for me. No one else in my lane. I may run next to my brothers and sisters and we can encourage each other along but no one can move my feet for me. I must pick each foot up and step it out. Sometimes You have me do short sprints. A trial that is hard but over quickly. Then there are marathons where it goes on for what seems like forever, and then there are the relay races. Times when we run as a team, each runner handing off to another. Those are my favorites because I am just a team kind of person.
But no matter which race You choose for me at any particular time in life there must be training and preparation. There will be spiritual muscles that ache, twisted ankles in relationships that need to be bound, disciplines of spirit that must be endured as the world begs me to go play, sweat will pour from my heart and it will not be easy, but the picture of the prize set before me becomes my focus and concentration. So for now I train and listen for the voice to hand me the baton and say, “run girl, run”! And somewhere I hear a crowd cheering me on as I run for my life. Then that race ends and I prepare for the next heat. All moving me closer to the final race where the prize set before me is the victor himself, Jesus. And that victory will not be momentary but eternal.
Dear Father, keep me running…