October 28 – Running the Race
“Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete ... Run I in such a way that you may win it.” The Apostle Paul writing to the church at Corinth (9:24-25). Here Paul compares the Christian life to running a race. Let me tell you a running a race story:
Mike Minor had a life-changing experience, while at home one lazy Sunday afternoon. Flipping through the channels on TV, he came across the Ironman competition in Hawaii. Mike was amazed to see these athletes, men and women, push themselves to their absolute limits. For those not familiar with the Ironman competition, the race begins with a 2 ½ mile swim, then a 115 mile bike ride, finishing up with a 26.2 mile marathon.
As Mike watched the athletes pass by, it appeared that all of them were in top physical condition. But then Mike noticed other athletes who at first seemed out of place. A runner with only one leg, and then a man in a wheelchair. Then Mike saw a man swimming with a harness tied to a small inflatable raft. In this raft was another man, who obviously could not swim this race on his own power. Long after the others competitors had left the water, the older of these two men climbed out of the water and he gently picked up the man in the raft and carried him to the next course, the 115 mile bike ride.
It turns out the two men were father and son. The father is 59 years old – who lost a leg years ago in an accident, and his son is 37. The son has cerebral palsy and now could no longer compete on his own in the competitions he loved. So the two decided to be a time and compete and challenge themselves as one.
The race was won in just over 8 hours. To Mike though, first place did not count in this race. The Father and son team crossed the finish line in just over 16 hours. As they did Mike said he cried as he watched this man and his son rejoice in their achievement.
Mike pondered what he had seen and wrote this: “We may not be running a race as challenging as the Ironman, but sometimes life is just as hard. We may not be physically challenged, but we may suffer from loneliness, depression, alcoholism or abuse. It is then the Father gently pulls us out of the water we may be struggling in, and carries ut to the next challenge. His arms are always open to catch us if we fall, has legs are there to carry us when we feel we cannot walk. His love is there to fill our hearts to give us the strength to keep us going. When we cross the final “finish line” he will be waiting to embrace us. He may even carry us across that line.”
We are all experiencing a strange kind of race in our lives right now. Rather than running fast and furious, we find ourselves slowed down to a crawl by the limitations that Covid-19 is placing on us. Still, it’s a tough race, and it sure has turned into a marathon!
But, today remember that you aren’t in this race alone. As you struggle with the challenges this time brings you, never forget that our Lord is with you, and when you cry for help, God will be there. When you need to be carried, God will do that. When you fall, he will pick you up. You are never alone. And together, you and I, and all of us, will cross the finish line and be just fine.
~ God bless, Dan