It reminded me of the days (over 20 years ago) when I ran track in school. I was not an athlete at all, but I could run long distance. I enjoyed it & as I watched those girls run I remembered how hard it was when we would run off campus. I remember falling a few times when our coach would drop us off miles from our school & we would have to run through fields, dirt roads & finally sidewalks to get back to the school. It was hard to run where the ground was not level. If you stepped on a rock just right you could hurt yourself...and I did a few times.
I was reminded of a great verse in Acts through all of this thinking about running.
I consider my life nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Acts 20:24(NIV)
This is the Apostle Paul speaking & he is on his way to Jerusalem. He knew that trouble was probably awaiting him, but he knew that he had to go. His physical body meant nothing to him, he was that committed to preaching the gospel. All he wanted to do was finish the race that the Lord has set out for him to run. The ground got real rocky for him, it was never an easy race for him to run. But he understood what his purpose was, to testify to the gospel of God's grace.
How do you run your race? Do you want to quit running when the race gets difficult? Do you wish you could run on a smoother surface? Oh sweet mom, we all do. I find myself asking God, "when will this get easier?" He gently reminds me to just keep running, to keep my goal in mind and to trust him with the obstacles. It is all to His glory that I run and when I run to complete the task that my Lord has given me I can run with joy and satisfaction.
The Physical Race is how we go about in our day. How we respond to others. how we accomplish the mundane chores and errands. Do our children know what is important to us? Does our husband know that he is the most important person to us? How do you manage your day?
The Emotional Race is where we let our feeling and mind go. Do we guard our heart like Proverbs instructs us to do? What do we watch, read & listen to? It all matters.
The Spiritual Race is our relationship with our God. Do you have one? This is the most important race of all. We will not take our bodies to Heaven, but our souls will go. How much time to you spend nourishing your soul? How much time do you spend talking to your Lord? He deeply desires to speak to you & loves to hear you talk to him. do you meditate on his word, do you memorize it? The older I get the harder it is for me to memorize scripture, but I still work on it. It is such a blessing when I can remember a scripture passage that speaks directly to my need at the time.
You know when Paul went to Jerusalem, he was arrested. The Holy Spirit prepared him that prison & hardships were waiting for him, but he went anyway. I don't have the faith of Paul, but I am working toward that.
We live in very easy times in that we do not face the persecution that Paul faced or that Christians in other parts of the world face like in Orissa, India. Yes, we struggle. Our economy is failing, we are looking at the possibility of a new President that is not a godly man and I could go on. Must understand what our God given purpose is...to glorify Him by teaching his gospel to our children and others.
Run the race with perseverance the race marked out for you (Hebrews 12:1) and let God cover the obstacles with his grace & mercy.