As I run, besides trying to remember whether it's time to do my short "leg" or my long "leg" of my circuit, thoughts fly into my head regularly. Some are rejected immediately, some slow me down, some speed me up and a few are occasionally worth spending some time on.
As I was coming down the home stretch on this run, I started thinking about the references to running that are used in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This one from Isaiah 40:31 came to mind:
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."That was certainly an encouraging verse to pop into my mind as I was definitely starting to grow a bit weary at about the 17th km.
That thought took me to other thoughts about how running a long race and running the race of faith are very similar.
To run any race, preparation has to be done, and in the Christian walk (race) that preparation consists of making the decision to humble yourself, admit you're a sinner, accept Jesus's sacrifice in your place and submit to Christ as Lord and Savior and walk with Him. In my running, that preparation was making the decision to run, downloading the Couch to 5k app and getting started. It also involved many little daily decisions - the decision to jump out of bed, put my shoes on and run; and the decision to not let anything stand in the way. That's exactly how we walk out our faith - by making the daily decision to die to self and let Jesus live through us.
Along the way on my 19 km run, I drank water - little sips but at regular intervals. Those sips of water refreshed me. And in the Christian walk, those times of being together with fellow believers on a regular basis are what refresh us spiritually.
And then there were the occasional boosts of hydration drink along with BCAA's, a few dates, a gel supplement, an energy shot (a healthy one; not those horrible ones you get at gas stations), etc. Each one was well-timed and kept me going by giving me an extra boost of energy. I thought about how when the going gets tough, we sometimes need a little help, some encouragement, a retreat, that message that spoke directly to us, extra time to meditate on God's word and pray, or a thoughtful note of encouragement from a friend.
But underlying it all is good solid food, without which I couldn't even hope to run, especially at 72 years of age. I choose my food wisely. So in our Christian lives, we need the food of the Word of God. It is manna, it is living water, it is the bread of life. And we need to be taking it in daily, not just on Sundays. We need to be feeding ourselves by reading, hearing, studying, memorizing and meditating on God's Word. That's what sustains us and keeps us going when the going gets tough!
As I ran I also had my eye and my mind on the final goal - both the goal for that day as well as the eventual goal of being able to run the 25 km Piney Woods Ultra. I knew this long run was necessary preparation. No matter how difficult, I was determined to get it done. And in the same way, I thought about what the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:24-25:
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown."My hope as I run is that I will finish the race and perhaps go home with one more medal. But those medals only represent a tiny victory in comparison to the crown of life we will receive when we have run our earthly race. That will be real victory; a victory we can't even begin to comprehend. So my question to you is, are you running to receive that crown? Are you willing to stay the course and run the race even though no one runs it with you?
So now you know what I was thinking about on that long 19 km run I'd love to know your thoughts.
And if there is any way I can serve you, I'm happy to do so.
You can email me at: hww.reece(at)gmail.com.