Jul 5, 2012

The Race of Faith

Cathy and I went for an early morning 3K run on Sunday. We walked a short portion to warm up and stretch out our muscles. When we got to the agreed starting place, I sprinted out ahead for a short burst, and then I stopped when I realized that we were not running at the same pace. “Go ahead and run at your own pace”; Cathy said, encouraging me to run as fast as I wanted to.

This past year, my cardio has been a combination of ice skating (all year long) and using an “Elliptical” machine. Playing hockey for most of the year and weight lifting several times a week had my lungs and legs in a great place. So, I should have had no problem running a 3K run; or so I thought.

Cathy and I do well walking together; after 32 ½ years of “dating” we’ve learned to walk hand in hand. But running, biking, and rollerblading we go at different paces. Because I am much faster than Cathy, we have discovered that it is much better for each of us to go at our own place. For example, when we roller blade, I will go eight miles during the same time that Cathy goes around five. And, just to be clear, Cathy isn’t slow, we just run at different speeds.

I quickly sprinted back to my speed and was happy with my run for the first eighth mile. And then, because of the heaviness of the humid air, my lungs struggled to get a deep breath. And I had to drop back to a fast walk; which meant Cathy quickly caught up to me and passed me by. I regained my lungs and a decided to once again take off a sprint past her. And then it dawned on me; if I would run behind Cathy, I could probably get into a good pace that would enable me to run without any stoppage. But, it would mean that I would have to dial down and run at her pace. 

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews (in the Bible) wrote in Chapter 12 that we should “run with endurance the race that is set before us…” The Greek word for “endurance” means; “cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: - enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).”

“Consistency”, that was the word I was searching for when I ran. The writer goes on to say that we do this by; “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”; sort of what I was doing by watching Cathy’s shoes to get my pace.

So, I ran behind her, looking at her shoes to get my rhythm lined up with hers and I enjoyed my run. I found that when I looked her shoes to get my pace, not my own, I endured the run better. I also found that at this pace I could actually see and enjoy the beautiful path along the Mississippi River and all of the wildlife. And, I looked forward to the next day or two when we would run this path again.

"Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message)

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