I have run two marathons in my lifetime.
My first marathon took place on March 6, 2011.
My last marathon took place on March 6, 2011.
I have two close friends that ran the race of their life this past weekend.
My 16 year old friend Jacob DeVries ran the Portland (Oregon) Marathon (26. 2 miles).
My 53 year old friend Leisa Chaney ran the Leavenworth (Washington) Half-Marathon (13.1 miles)
Congratulations to you both for training, persevering, committing and running the race of a lifetime.
From what I have heard, only 1% of Americans have ever run a marathon.
Leisa ran the race with a friend of hers and with about 4 miles to go they came across a young man who serves the United States of America in the US Army. He was running a full marathon. Leisa was running the half-marathon.
The soldier had run 22 miles.
Leisa had run 9 miles.
The soldier had never run this far before.
Leisa had never run 13 miles before.
The soldier was on his last leg. He had run out of water. His legs were shot. More than once he muttered, “I just don’t think I can make it.”
That’s all my friend Leisa needed to hear for her amazing gift of “encouragement” to kick in to high gear.
Gatorade was offered. Shot blocks shared (gummy blocks filled with calories and energy).
Best of all, Leisa and her friend lifted this soldier from the proverbial pavement with their words of encouragement.
For four miles all this soldier heard were loving, encouraging words of praise, hope and support.
The three of them crossed the finish line exhausted and exhilarated.
The soldier gazed at his girlfriend, whose arms were open wide at the finish line and blurted out these words, “I never would have made it to the finish line had it not been for these two women who encouraged me all the way to the finish line.”
It might be true that only 1% of Americans have run a marathon…
But, it is absolutely true that 100% of us run the race of life!
My friend Leisa said to me, “If you had asked me a year ago if I could run a half-marathon, I would have said, ‘No way.’ But if you follow the training guide and do what it says, then you can run the race!”
What “Training Guide” do you follow?
Where did you get it?
How’s it working for you?
My “Training Guide” is God’s word – The Bible.
It’s the only one I know.
I have tried others and have quickly found myself lying in a ditch by the side of the trail.
In regards to my “Training Guide” (The Bible) let me offer this observation I have gleaned over the years.
“It is not what I don’t understand in God’s word that disturbs me, it’s what I do understand.”
It disturbs me that someone would give up his life for me.
It disturbs me that I am loved unconditionally. I would rather earn God’s love and your love.
It disturbs me that I am forgiven, over and over and over and over and over again and again and again.
It disturbs me that I cannot, hear me again, I cannot do it on my own. Nothing. Nada. Nothing on my own…
It disturbs me that I could keep going on for a few hundred more paragraphs…
How is your race going?
Ten years ago this past weekend I started serving the First Presbyterian Church of Klamath Falls, Oregon as their pastor. My friend Jacob DeVries was only 6 years old when he wandered in with his parents and grandparents.
Now I am in Texas by way of Iowa…
Fifty years ago this week a dear friend of mine was born into this world and the world has never been the same.
Ten years ago today another friend of mine took her last drink of alcohol. She celebrates ten years of sobriety today!!
Five years ago this past week my administrative assistant Kim Morgan walked through my door and said, “I am here to apply for the new Administrative Assistant position.”
We are all running the race!
My race has had a number of twists and turns.
I imagine yours has too…
There have been days I have wondered if I would make it.
I imagine yours has too…
And then lo, and behold one of you comes running up beside me and offers me a “shot block” or a swig of Gatorade.
My recovering alcoholic friend has had all sorts of obstacles to overcome. She wouldn’t have made it to ten years of sobriety without you.
As you run the race, let me come up beside you today and raise a shout so loud that you will not misunderstand in any way the meaning of what I am about to say…
YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT!!!!
And when you and I and our friends gather at the finish line where Jesus will be waiting for us with His amazing, loving arms open wide, we will all be able to say one thing for sure…
“If it hadn’t been for these wonderful friends who prayed for me, supported me and lifted me up when I stumbled and fell, I never would have made it…”
Be an encourager today!
You just might help a fellow runner make it a little further down the trail!
One more thing…
Allow yourself to be encouraged by someone else today!
You just might need a little help getting further down the trail yourself…
“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,” (Hebrews 12. 1)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5. 11)
Laugh often and Fear not!