"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God." -Hebrews 12:1-2
I hate running-I abhor it-but I loved running in the Will to Live 5K Run this past Saturday. There is something about being a part of a greater cause, and raising over $72,000 for suicide prevention awareness with 1600 other runners is indeed a greater cause.
But again, running for the sake of running in itself is something I crave about as much as I do cauliflower. Within the first kilometer, I found myself tired and in pain. Part of me wanted to give in to my out-of-shapeness and just walk the rest of the way. But then suddenly, my eyes spotted some motivation. It was a striking, sandy-haired "old guy" running 50 yards ahead of me who caught my eye: the Rev. Neal Kuhlhorst. "I can't let Neal beat me," I thought. "He's old!" So with my eyes on Neal, I continued jogging with purpose and some renewed pep in my step.
Move forward two kilometers, I'm maintaining and letting Neal set the pace before me, but man, am I ever getting tired again. I feel like walking. But then out of nowhere, my friend and church member Honey Cunningham catches me in the run. It's great to see a familiar, friendly face. We banter back and forth as she offers encouragement to continue strong. I find new life with my new running buddy as we approach the final kilometer.
However, in connecting with Honey, I notice that Neal has pulled farther ahead. Like a laser beam, I focus in on the reverend and become determined to catch him. I put my legs in high gear and fight off the pain for the stretch run. With a hundred yards to go, I put my motor in high gear. I tap him on the backside as I pass him and strain across the finish line feeling victorious. Unbeknownst to Neal, who didn't even know we were "racing," he was my primary motivation for running hard and finishing strong.
Such a run is a powerful metaphor for the Christian life. As we run the race of faith and life, as it says in the book of Hebrews, we focus on our leader, not Neal, but Jesus. He gives us the strength to carry on, to lay aside our sins, persevere in life, and finish the race of faith with creative resilience. We might even find additional encouragement from our Christian friends around us to hang in there. Jesus ran his race before us, and that gives us motivation every hour of the day in every task we face. Praise God!
The Trautweins share some family teammate love
at the Will to Live 5K Run January 30, 2016.
Prayer for Today
O God, we thank you that you don't leave us to our own resources to run the race of life. You give us Jesus-and one another. Thank you. Amen.