Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
I wouldn’t be here on my own. I’d be asleep in my comfortable bed relishing my only opportunity not to be awakened by the annoying beep of my alarm.
Instead, I chose to meet up with the 2017 marathon training group I joined. I wanted to continue chasing things I’ve always wanted to do but never quite had the courage, and running a half marathon was one of them.
This team of runners weren’t what I expected. Most of them have never finished any sort of marathon, and like me, don’t even run for exercise or necessarily enjoy running. Men and women at various fitness levels and ages.
But something inside caused us each to fight back the pull to stay in bed and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. A personal challenge we hope we have the capability of achieving.
It’s what brought us together at 7 a.m. in the pouring rain on a stormy dark Saturday morning, ready to run our 3 miles.
Ready to take on the intense training required to finish a marathon.
My legs pushed forward as if God had given them the strength to power through their resistance as worship music echoed my praises, bringing me before His presence.
Rain poured down in buckets, dripping off my hooded raincoat, splashing onto my face like tears of victory. Each drop, a representation of life showering moments of this past year that required courage, perseverance and determination like running against the wind.
Moments when His strength became my own. Courage to live out God’s will no matter what people thought.
Boldness to use the passion God gave me for His glory instead of hiding it away. Bravery to face my deepest fears. The desire to repent from my sins and stomp on fleshly reactions when my feelings are hurt.
The Lord’s hand over my life felt real. His grace washing over me. I began to run faster. Energy filled my soul. The first runner spurred me on to go ahead of her and smiled at me.
This wasn’t about who finished first. We were for each other. We weren’t there to beat anybody. We weren’t there to compare but to encourage one another on.
Everyone was running against their own competition, themselves.
I was running for the healing that poured over me for the past few years. I was running for the Holy Spirit that gives me the power to overcome my own frailty. For weakness turned to strength. For hope found in Jesus. For joy that comes in the morning and breaks through angry clouds illuminating rays of light in darkness.
This same kind of hope brings us together. The deep desire to be in community in order to be loved and known. The strong-willed determination to defeat the lies that tell us we can’t.
We run against lonliness. Heartache. Grief. Pain. Insecurity. Anger. Pride.
We are all runners in this race we call life.
The ringing of the alarm awakens within us the choice to decide what kind of day it will be.
Will we retreat back under the covers and hide away?
Or will we see the day as a challenge we can meet with optimistic anticipation because we realize we aren’t in this alone?
The presence of the Holy Spirit empowers us to put one foot in front of the other.
The community of other believers encourages us if we take a risk and choose to get to know the person running next to us and maybe even smile if they run ahead.
Because we both know there’s a finish line. And we both want each other to finish well.
Why do we fool ourselves into thinking we are on our own and that nobody cares?
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. I Corinthians 12:26
As the last person comes in my friend goes back and finishes the run with her and everyone cheers. We give each other high fives whether we were first or last.
Celebrating the fact that we all set our alarms to wake up early and we all knew if it weren’t for the group we’d still be in bed.
There are days when the marathon of life seems like too much to handle. It’s then when the alarm startles me awake with the pounding of my heart and the heaviness of my thoughts, I pray for the Lord to fill me with His strength to live my day with passion and to fill my soul with the hope that comes from knowing I’m not alone.
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5 ESV
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:19
I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… Philippians 3:13
Author, Lisa Preuett read this post and commented about a devotional book she wrote for runners. This is definitely on my reading list now. What a great gift idea to give your running buddies too!