I’ve run several marathons… each one was unique, each had it challenges, each one was LONG! And it really helps to have some people along the way cheering you on… especially if some of them have run races like your’s before! But when you approach the finish line, with your muscles screaming and your body telling you you’re NOT going to make it, you really want to see that one special friend or spouse at the end there to meet you!
Following Jesus is not a sprint… It’s a marathon! And each one of us face unique challenges as we seek to finish “our race” (and the fact is we’re not running against each other… each of us is running “our race”). Sometimes we wonder if we’ll make it – the difficulties and trials seem so great! We’re tempted to pull over to the side, give up and just take the “sag wagon” without finishing. But thankfully there are fellow runners that cheer us on, those who have finished their faith race successfully and have gone on before whose words of encouragement we remember (the heavenly grandstands are filled with them!)… and then there is Jesus! The One above all else we want to see at the finish line… Our Savior… The One who with His dying breath proclaimed from the cross “IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30)
So at the end of the great faith chapter (Hebrews 11) – a chapter filled with the names and stories of fellow runners, who finished their “faith-race” (overcoming all kinds of challenges, accomplishing great things despite the difficulties – even giving their all to finish their race)… We find these words…
“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, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God!” (from Hebrews 12:1–2 ESV)
I’m gonna keep on running! I really appreciate the encouragement that comes from each of you, my fellow runners! And, oh how the lives of faithful people who have gone before encourage me to continue on! … But most of all Jesus! …Jesus encourages me! And, oh I want to see Him at the finish line cheering me across the finish line… more than anything else!!!