Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
First of all, I have to thank my friend Amanda H. for the title of this blog. We ran our first marathon together (along with my husband) in Columbus, OH this year. She came up with this phrase as her inspiration and was kind enough to even get window stickers made to commemorate this huge milestone that we finished!
Training for (and running!) a marathon is hard. It is no easy feat. I cannot believe the amount of effort and time that was put into it. There were some days I didn’t even want to put my shoes on and get out the door. Dark mornings that I didn’t want to roll out of bed to run for hours. There were times my runs started out great and ended with me thinking I would never make it. There were so many ups and downs, too many to count.
We trained for 16 weeks. Almost 4 months of this year were dedicated to finishing this race. It took perseverance, motivation and the encouragement of others just to complete the training.
DISCLAIMER: What I’m about to say is not meant to sound pompous or “I ran a marathon and you didn’t.” Some of my best friends just completed the Columbus ½ marathon. I completed one last year and it was tough for me! This has more to do with the point I’m trying to make.
As we were passing the halfway point my husband commented on how few people run marathons. Most people don’t want to or can’t put in the hours and the training or don’t feel they are “fit enough.” Depending on who you ask, people who have completed a marathon make up anywhere between 0.1% and 2% of the world’s population. There is a point to all of this. I promise.
I got to thinking about this from a purely spiritual point of view. We have this Christian walk (or run, if I may). The run is easier at sometimes than others. We hit bumps in the road, times of injury or illness. We have great stretches where everything is going great. Sometimes, though when we get to the big, insurmountable looking hill we think, “This is just too much. I’m giving up.” We only allow our Christianity (and by Christianity, I mean our relationship with God) to go so far. Sometimes we don’t want to push through and keep going. It’s too hard to do that. We go to church on Sundays (or not at all) and plaster on our happy face and just say, this is my finish line, I’m not going any further.
I Peter 1:6b-7 “…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.7 These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
The alternative is to keep pushing your faith to places it’s never been. To work through it on the basis that you have trained for this! You can do it! You can go farther than you ever dreamed possible!
During my struggle with cancer I have found such joy and peace in my faith in God and in the comfort of knowing that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I can’t explain it to you. It’s so hard to put into words. I just know that I have experienced it in my run of this life. I’ve felt the Holy Spirit running beside me, whispering encouragement and hope in my ear. Telling me I’m going to make it and it will be okay. I have such peace knowing that when my earthly race is done I will have an eternity of peace. I have the promise of a finish line that is better than any one I can cross here on this earth.
YOU can be a (spiritual) marathoner! Don’t’ lose your faith or hope. Be encouraged by the word of God and the other runners in your life. Don’t give up. YOU can finish this race.