By Lisa Huddleston
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne” (Heb. 12:1-2).
I know you’ve seen them, too. Euro stickers on the back windows of every third or fourth car on the interstate (it seems): 13.1 or 26.2. The sticker announces to the world that the owner of the car has run a half- or a whole marathon! 26.2 miles! I can’t even imagine it without getting worn out.
I know some of these amazing people, and while I am greatly impressed by their determination and endurance, I am surprised that they set and accomplished such a lofty goal. They are ordinary people–not super heroes. Ordinary people who persevered through long months of training regimens and the actual race itself. Their ordinariness makes the accomplishment even more incredible!
Recently, my husband and I were pondering why the desire to run a marathon seems to be on the rise. Ours is a day of leisure. Most people don’t seem to be into deprivation or hardship. So why run a marathon?
We were inclined to think it had something to do with the definition of the event. No matter where you run a marathon, it is always carefully measured and clearly marked–26.2 miles. No more. No less. It can’t be dumbed down. It can’t be achieved virtually or through an on-line gym. It must be run one step at a time until the entire length is completed. No variation allowed.
Maybe that’s what people want today. A true standard. A rule or a measure that never changes. A clearly defined course to conquer. And a marathon is just that. As is choosing to become a follower of Christ.
No, there are not mile markers to follow or specified distances to cover; yet, I do have One who runs before me upon whom my eyes are fixed. And He who endured the cross knows what it means to persevere. He understands my weariness and encourages me not to lose heart as I run. He is both the source of my faith as well as its perfecter–starter and finisher–and He never leaves me behind in the dust.
Help me run, Lord! Not for a sticker or for the applause of witnesses (although a large cloud surrounds me), but for the joy that lies at the end. One foot after the other. Drawn forward, ever forward, with my eyes fixed on You.