Sunday, August 02, 2009

Life-lessons in 13.1 miles

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." -- Hebrews 12:1-3

Last week I participated in a half marathon. The run took place in Boyds/Germantown Maryland, a picturesque spot with sunny horse farms and big, shady trees overhanging the road. As I was running, I couldn't help thinking of Paul's words in Hebrews 12, where we should run the race of life with one Goal in site. As I was reflecting during the run, I thought of several life-lessons that can be deduced from a simple, endurance run.

1) As we were setting off, a torrential downpour met us, and from then on we had intermittent showers along the way, this kept us runners refreshed and cool. Whenever the sweat of the world is covering us, God sends us "showers of blessing" to refresh us on our journey.

2) Every two miles us weary runners were refreshed by water and Gatorade, and as we run our race of life we are revived along the way with the Water of Life and the bread of God's word.

3) At the time when it was most needed, trainers, bystanders, or other runners would shout out words of encouragement. This would cheer us all and we would in turn send words of encouragement to others. In rough times on this earth God sends us messeges of hope to us, to "look up, it's not far now" and "keep going, one step at a time". These make us all the more willing to press on and build others up.

4) To be honest, there were miles that I was in great pain, and other miles that I just wanted to give up, yet I kept in mind how I wanted to finish the race. In the same way when we run the race of life there are times when we are discouraged or just want to give up, but keep pressing on towards the goal of being with Jesus.

With our great Trainer by our side, no matter what difficulty may arrise, God will be able to pull us through and give us a crown of glory when we meet our goal.