Remember challenging your buddies to a race when you were a kid?
It was usually spontaneous like, “Hey, I’ll race ya to the corner and back!” There was probably a self-appointed race announcer, aka the “On your mark(s), get set, go!” guy. When he called “Go!” you were off like a rocket because you wanted those bragging rights that were sure to follow the winner. Those rights lasted (at least) for the rest of the day.
If you’ve ever run in a race you know it takes a lot of work to prep for it. You’ll hurt yourself if you don’t.
Discipline, effort, and perseverance propel the runner forward. On the days he doesn’t want to run, he laces up those shoes and does it anyway.
For the win.
I’m sure some of you know the exhilaration of placing in the higher ranks of a race. All of the weeks, months, and sometimes years of consistent personal training make winning all the sweeter.
If you won without it, would it feel like victory for you? Doubtful. Winning a marathon without any work involved would create the feeling that we cheated. That’s no triumph at all.
Friend, the race of life is no different. You can cheat your way to the end if you choose, but regret is a thief that will rob you of your joy in such a case. It’s simply not worth it.
Endurance can be a tricky thing to master. We often think of it as “go-go-go” but that’s only part of what it means. Another requirement of endurance is rest. Quiet rest and sleep aid in recovering muscle strength, mental clarity, and energy.
Sometimes life throws potholes into our race. We can all get tripped up from time to time but think of how life would be if nobody ever got up from that place in which they’ve fallen.
If you happen to fall, it doesn’t have to be this dramatic big deal. Just get up. If you need help to get up, there’s no shame in that. Ask for it, accept it, and apply it to your next steps.
Maybe life has handed you a mountain to climb. If that’s your story today, don’t despair.
Runner, there’s someone who is bigger than any mountain, and He is a master at moving them. If He doesn’t move it, He’ll walk with you over, around, or straight through it.
Remember, you don’t run alone. There is a Friend who’ll walk with you daily if you’ll let Him. He’ll never force you to, but He longs to show you His compassion and give you His help daily. Which one of us couldn’t benefit from that?
One kind of race that you’ll never witness is one in which the participants run backwards. Nope. It just doesn’t happen because 1) Multiple injuries would occur and 2) The human body simply wasn’t created to run backwards. Oh, it’s possible but not without dire consequences.
Friend, this ought to tell you something. You weren’t made to go backwards in this life. You can’t physically visit yesterday, but you can let your mind and emotions dwell there if you’re so inclined. Any time I’ve ever done that it hasn’t served me well. I’ve found it’s best to walk forward with the lessons learned from both victory and defeat. Otherwise, I can get stuck, resulting in my own stagnation. I think that many of us if not all of us, are like that.
Imagine a racetrack in an Olympic sized stadium. Now imagine you’re a contestant on that very track today. Glance over to the sidelines. Who’s there, cheering you on?
Brave soul, even if there’s nobody in those stands for you Jesus, the Son of God is. He is for you, not against you. He looks at you with pride, smiling at His child. He’s saying, “You can do this!”
You take your mark and behold! You look to your right and and He is there, next to you! He is going to run each and every step alongside you! If you trip, He’ll patiently wait for you to find your stride again. If you fall, He’ll offer His hand to help you up, without criticism or looks of disappointment. When you feel the fatigue settling into your bones and you can’t take another step forward, He will not drag you to the finish line.
He will carry you.
Run on, runner. Leave the past behind. He is with you.