I received a most encouraging email the other day from a good friend that I haven’t seen or heard from in years. In response to my response, he wrote, "Therefore let us run with endurance… My gut tells me you have done this better than most and are the Olympian when it comes to walking with God." As I mentioned, he has not seen me in years, but I can tell you those words were a huge encouragement to my heart and my spirit. Truly, I am no Olympian in the faith, but just that word picture made me want to be!
Now, I am not a huge sports fan. (OK, I’m really not a sports fan at all). I am a huge fan of my girls, though, and so I attend whatever sports events they have participated in over the years. I have grown to love track meets. Both of our daughters have run the 800. It is not an easy race. Your legs have to be strong, and your perseverence, present. You have to endure when it seems hardest and your legs seem the heaviest. The goal is to finish. I am proud of the fact that they both endure and finish, despite the challenges.
It is because of this background that I was particularly struck one day by a scene I saw while driving down Ohio Street in Salina, Kansas. A steady rain was falling. Then I noticed them… runners… high school kids- actually members of one of the high school track teams in town. They were all running. Running in the rain. The picture of it penetrated my soul. They were not standing on a corner arguing, or looking up at the sky cursing the rain as it fell on their faces. They kept running. I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable or easy.
Why were they doing it? Undoubtedly, they had instructions from their coach. It was what they always did… why should that day be any different? But he was not with them on their run. How would he know if they ran or not? How would he know if they stopped to seek shelter until the storm passed? Those kids were running in obedience to their coach and for the betterment of both themselves, and their team. They endured the elements, because ultimately, it would make them stronger – both physically and mentally.
Our race is not easy either. We often encounter adverse conditions. There are moments we are tempted to quit. This life, is indeed, a marathon- a long run, in all types of weather. Regardless, we have been called upon to run the very best we can and to finish the race. And so I thought, as I watched those runners, do we know how to run in the rain? For, inevitably, rain comes. Circumstances are not ideal and mud is the result. Children get challenging. Marriages get marred. Finances may fail or health problems prevail.We are told to keep running the course set before us. But, many of us bow out, postpone or quit the race, not willing to get wet. We wait for the sun to shine again and for the conditions to be just right.
Three years ago, our younger daughter ran the 400 at a State Track Meet… in the rain. Though I was concerned and nervous in the stands, she ran her best time ever… in the rain. She qualified for a trip to the National Track Meet in Hershey, PA. Last year, there was another track meet… in the rain. I recall all of us parents and fans taking shelter every chance we got in between our kids’ races. We were cold and wet, but they were running. I thought to myself, if they can run in the rain, I can surely cheer them on in the rain.
So, wherever you are in your marathon, I encourage you to run through the rain. If you are one of those who happen to be on one of the easier legs of the race at this time, I encourage you to keep cheering on your friends and family. Whether it is through an encouraging email like the one I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, or showing up in person to show your support, cheer so they can hear you. We may not be Olympians, but we can all run with endurance.
Running right with you,