Running the Race

"God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.  It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.  It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race."  Psalm 19:4b-5

I don't like to run.  Maybe for a nice piece of Swiss chocolate I might hurry, but running has never really been my thing.

Let me explain . . .

You see, it's hard work.  It makes me sweat, and I really don't like to do that.  Running also hurts.  It takes time and commitment, too.  I don't have enough time as it is, and I'm already over-committed.  And, I'm really just no good at it.  I'm not built like a runner, or anything else athletic, for that matter.

Those were all of my best excuses, and I thought they were pretty good ones.  That is, until I noticed the 92-pound frame I had as a twenty-five year old had grown another digit over the past twenty-five years.  With swimming season and a family reunion right around the corner, I knew something had to be done.

I had some good role models.  A gentleman in leadership at our church had recently taken up running and traded in a flabby body for a trim, fit frame and a newfound exuberance for life.  It was inspiring.

But, the most inspiring of all was seeing the change in my own son, Dylan.  He never liked running, and he didn't really have the body for it, either.  But, he knew it would be good for him, so he started doing it.  He wasn't an overnight success story.  At first, running made him want to throw up.  But, day by day, mile after mile, things began to change, his body began to change.  His eating habits changed, too, because he felt better when he didn't indulge in a daily batch of Mom's chocolate chip cookies before running.  Instead, he had fruit, yogurt, lean meat and vegetables.  Then, he began fasting one day a week, too.  It was inspiring to see the change in him.  I literally watched Dylan's transformation before my eyes.  And, it wasn't just a physical change.  He had a newfound focus and determination to serve God.

At his last track meet, Dylan was excited to start the race, and he smiled as he finished with a new personal record.  The pleasure and joy he now found in running was changing me, too.

I decided it was time to do something besides make excuses as I sat at my desk eating M&Ms day after day and basking in the weekly office chair massage.

The Christian life is like that.  God calls us out of our comfort zones, away from the armchair quarterback position to be an active participant in the race.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us, "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."

God has made a home in the heavens just for the sun that so eagerly bursts forth each morning to shine on you and on me.  Can you imagine what our home in the heavens will be like?

May you and I be filled with joy each day to get up and eagerly run the race that God has set before us.

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