Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
I'm not a serious athlete. I'm the type that works out to eat. But recently I started to enjoy exercise. I didn't start running until 3 years ago. I remember the first time I ran a whole 2 miles with Nick. The road was long. My body went into this shock-like phase. Every single fiber of my body was yelling at me. All the while I'm trying to catch up to Nick. He slows down and I remember this downhill portion and so I start sprinting. I just remember flying, going so fast. in my mind, I was Usain Bolt. But that quickly came to an end when I hit the bottom of the hill, I still had another mile to go. I was beyond dead. At the end of the run, Nick goes to me and says "why did you run so fast halfway? you should pace yourself." I finished the run but I barely had any energy.
When we look at our life, a lot of us like to compare ourselves to the people around us. Are we at the same pace as our peers? Are they up ahead? And so, often times, we sprint, forgetting that our life is a marathon. There are times to sprint, times to walk and a time to rest. But more often than not, we use up all our energy trying to catch up to everyone and then we get frustrated. "How come I'm still single at this age? How come I'm still at an entry level job? Why am I still living at my parents' house?" We look around us and try to keep pace with those around us without understanding everyone runs at their own timing, the pace that God has set for them.
In the passage, Paul is at the end of his life and he is writing to Timothy and saying I have finished the race. I'm ready to go and meet my Father. I have kept the faith." He finished the race. The reality of the matter is that we are called to run the race and just finish strong. As long as we look forward and continue running towards the goal, of meeting Jesus Christ face to face, then we have run a good race. We have lived a great life, glorifying God and pointing others to Him.
One tip that I learned on while running is to never look down. When you look down, you can't see where you're going. You feel like you haven't made progress because all you see is your feet. Instead, you have to lift your eyes up and search for something in the far horizon and concentrate on reaching that point. In the same notion, as we continue to walk in our journey with God, we need to pick up our eyes and look at the bigger picture. If we just get caught up in the present moment, just this situation happening right now, we may feel stuck. We may feel like we are going through the motions. Rather than looking down, just staying in the moment, we need to be aware of where we are, acknowledge it and know that it is part of the race.
Lift up your eyes, brothers, and sisters. Don't worry about the people running past you or is up ahead. There will always be people that running alongside you. I am thankful to have Nick and other brothers and sisters encouraging me in both my physical running and spiritual running, lifting me up when I'm exhausted, challenging me when I want to just stop and give up. You are never alone. Let's continue to run towards the goal of Christ together.
Dave is a co-founder of the Lift Project. He is currently in the process of finishing his Master of Divinity degree at Cairn University. He loves powerlifting, watching UFC and speaking about practical theology.