SET: Something I recently learned is from watching the 2012 olympics marathon runners. I have been following one of the most incredible athletes, Ryan Hall, train and compete over the last few years and it’s been amazing to see the gifts God has blessed him to be able to run with such speeds.
What I have really enjoyed watching this summer is the olympic runners at the back of the pack-the ones who have to struggle and fight to overcome so many obstacles just to be there to run. They fight just to finish as their teammates cheer them on. They are the ones who put me in awe and my heart burst with pride.
Running is not an easy sport, but life is not easy either. There are times when we will struggle and have obstacles to overcome, but God wants us to run the race knowing it is going to be tough and to prepare ourselves for those obstacles so that we will stay in the race. Sometime I find myself praying for an easy road, but maybe I should be praying for obstacles because often that’s what draws me closer to God!
A reporter wrote a recap of a marathoner during the 1968 Olympics games in Mexico City:
“It was the marathon: 26 miles, 385 yards. The first place runner crossed the finish line, then the second, the third, and so on. As the last runner, it would seem, straggled in, the spectators and camera crews noticed an ambulance with lights flashing several hundred yards up the course. The flashing lights warned the crowd not to surge onto the track as the race wasn’t yet over. One runner remained on the track.
This fellow, John Stephen Ahkwari, had come from a developing country in the two-thirds world. His nation had no funds for state-sponsored training programs. The people had simply sent him off with whatever encouragement they could press on him. Now he was running with men whose economic privilege gave them enormous advantage.
This fellow, ambulance alongside him, would stagger a few feet and fall on his face, get up and stagger a few more feet and go down again, over and over until he had traversed the last few hundred yards. When asked why he had persevered at such a price he replied, “My people did not send me here to compete (they knew I couldn’t compete); they didn’t even send me here to run; they sent me here to finish.”
Incredible huh? That gives me chills all over again every time I read this. The most important part of this race is that we run to finish. Who cares if we get to our goal with scraped knees and a bleeding face? It is only that we finish that we find ourselves standing with the great cloud of witnesses in the company of our Father. Only a little farther. Push a little harder, keep your pace, keep your head up. You can do it! As running legend Steve Prefontaine said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
- How can you prepare for your race today?
- Can you set a new goal today and push yourself closer towards God?
- What obstacles do you need to overcome today?
- How can you connect with God in the process?
WORKOUT: Colossians 1:11