Sunday, September 25, 2016

Running the race............

Today was quite the day for Ken and I.  We took several forms of transportation into Chicago to watch Gwen compete in the "Run the Drive" Chicago Half Marathon.  We drove to a place to catch the CTA into the city.  Then we took the Metra to the park on the South side of the city where the race was held.  This was the first time that I ever was on the subway!  And I have lived in the Chicago area for 49 years!  Quite the experience.  At one point, Ken and I managed to get on a train heading to South Bend Indiana!  Fortunately we figured it out before the train left the station.  This caused us a slight delay, but I am happy to say that we made it to the finish line in time to see Gwen and her friend Stephanie cross!
All of the kids were there and it was really something to watch some of the 15,000 runners come across the finish line.

The medal was really something.  It weighs over a pound and the XX in the center spins around!  It is really impressive!  One thing is certain, anyone who ran that race DESERVES this medal!  Running on the street is not that easy.  Roads are designed for cars, not people.  While it might seem like a lot of fun to run on Lake Shore Drive with the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan at your side, that is a tough place to do a long race!  Gwen and Stephanie were tired but happy at the end of this long run.

I have been thinking about Gwen and Tim and all the training they are doing for these really long races! (Tim is running a full marathon in a couple of weeks! Watch for posts!).  There have been plenty of ups and downs for them.  The weather has been especially hot this year and allergies have been bad.  Their treadmill broke down and needed a part to be ordered and installed.  They have four children and many responsibilities in addition to work and church......well you get the idea.  They have made it a priority to train.  And I was thinking about my "race" of life.  

This reminded me that we need to follow Paul's advice from Acts 20:24......
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has give me - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace."

There is the key to running the race of life.  Knowing that our life is worth nothing except telling the Gospel message - the Good News.  And what is the training that we have to do to run this race?  Well, that is easy.  Just read my last blog post.  Spending time with Jesus is the only way that we will be able to run the race that is before us.  Without His presence and His peace and His love in our hearts, we can not finish our race.  And yes, sometimes our training has it's ups and downs.  We have situations and difficulties facing us every day.  There are hurts and sorrows and pain and illness.  There are so many things that can detour us from the track we have been on, training for our race.  But the good news is that even these seemingly bad things can find their way into our testimony of God's grace.  And then they strengthen us to complete our task.  Isn't that amazing?  

Yes, life is quite the race.  And it is not over in 3 hours or 5 hours or even a day.  Our race is started each day when we put our feet on the floor and go about our business.  And each day is training for the next and the next and the next.  

Gwen and Tim each had a goal in mind during their training.  Gwen's was finished today.  Tim has a couple of weeks to go.  None of us knows the number of our days or how long our race will be.  What we do know is that we have one simple task - to tell others about Jesus.  

Paul goes on to later say in 2 Timothy 4:7....
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith"

And there is the goal that each of us can train towards.  Fighting what ever comes our way as we train by spending time with Jesus.  Pressing on towards the finish line of our life.  Telling others about all that Jesus has done for us.  And knowing that it is the faith OF Jesus that sustains us.  

Thank you Jesus for showing me last week how much I need to spend time with you.  Thank you for training us as we run this race of life.  Holy Spirit, remind us that our testimony along with the Good News can effect the world.  Give us all courage and boldness to run our races well!  Amen

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