Friday, August 12, 2011

Run to win. Endure to the end.

This morning my friend Jeri and I have the pleasure of doing chapel for our friends at Serenity Women's Shelter. We'll be talking about God wants us to run this race of faith to win and to endure the course to the end. The ladies we'll share with know what it means to struggle on life's path.

Last Friday night I went to watch Jeff run a 7 mile trail race through the mountains. In a race like that, you only see the runners at the beginning and at the finish. It was pea soup humid and hot as the 60+ runners gathered at the start and took off. (Here is where I have to admit that we got in the car, drove to town, and ate Chick-fil-A in the air conditioning. :) I took a large Diet Dr. Pepper back with me to sweat and wait for the finish!)

Supporters gathered at the finish line to wait for the runners coming in. Finally, someone shouted that they saw the first athlete. More followed in a stead trickle, every one running at a different pace and with a different story to tell. Almost all groaned about the final, steep ascent. Some were gasping, while others collapsed in the grass. Some were dirt covered, telling stories of their falls and triumphs to get back in the race. Several were bleeding and injured from trials on the trail. Some lagged behind, but they still came.

And on the sidelines ... we all cheered and clapped and whistled. Witnesses to the pain and the perseverance of the runners, we all shouted and stood in support of their race. 

What do you say when someone is gasping for breath, gutting it out through every painful step, straining to see the finish line, ready to give up? 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith ..." (Heb. 12:1).
That cloud of witnesses is made up of the Old Testament heroes of the "faith chapter" in Hebrews 11. Their faithfulness stands as a witness to us as we run our race. When every step is agony and we "feel the burn," when we fall repeatedly and try to get up, when we look at the next "steep ascent" and think we can't do it ... God wants us to remember that we're in it to win it (1 Cor. 9:24-25), and He calls us to endure the trail.

  • If you read this in the morning... please pray for us to communicate these truths clearly to our friends at Serenity. We are cheering them on in their race! 
  • And if you read it after 11ish (EST) pray that the truths will linger in the hearts and minds of the ladies, to encourage them when the road looks long and they're tired. Pray that they persevere.
Is your race looking long and hard today? Have you fallen down?  Do you see a steep ascent before you? Don't give up, sweet friend. We're in it to win it, and the witnesses of our faith are cheering us on!

I want to "give" you this video. It's not a cross country race; it's a sprint, but God calls us to display the perseverance of a runner like this. Watch the first 2 minutes. (If you receive this by email, click on the post title to see the actual page with the video. I don't want you to miss it!)

Join me this weekend for the 2nd of our S.O.S. - Somalia on Saturdays project to make a difference in Jesus' name.

2 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Mary@The Calm of His Presence said...

 What a great visual using the example of your husband running his race. Continuing the "race" when we run into steep grades, boggy sand, roots & rocks can seem impossible. So thankful we can turn to God's word to give us the strength to continue running the "race".
In His Calm,

Julie_Sanders said...

Mary, the ladies really "got it." I could see the looks of understanding on their faces, and they shared such great insights about what the trail is like, feelings of people watching, the struggle of the runner, and so much more. Rich morning. :) One lady asked for copies of the materials, so she can do it with her children when they come for a visit. She was really excited. Thanks for praying.

Julie Sanders