Running a Marathon

Do you ever feel like you are running a marathon?  Some of you are actually runners who compete in marathons, half-marathons, and 5Ks.  You are awesome!  You might find me competing in a 1K Fun Run – but only if I can walk!

Sometimes life can feel like you are running a marathon.  Only on a treadmill.  And it never stops.

I saw a video from ABC News on Facebook this week that I am still thinking about.  A woman is competing in the Philadelphia Love Run Half-Marathon.  Only she can’t finish it.  She is in sight of the finish line and her legs won’t work anymore.  Just as she is ready to collapse, two men grab her arms and help support her.  She keeps moving her legs and you can tell they are encouraging her.  Then her legs buckle again and you can see the men are going to have to drag her across the finish line.   But a third man comes up and picks the woman up.  He carries her until they are at the finish line, then he sets her down and all four of the people – the woman and her helpers – cross together.  You can watch the video here.

Living the Christian life is like running a marathon.  It can be hard sometimes.  You have to train and practice and sometimes you fall.  Occasionally your knees buckle and you think you can’t continue.  You lose your courage, your strength.  You wonder why you even try to move ahead.

But then someone comes along and helps you up.  It might be a loved one or it might be someone you have never seen before.  They lend you their strength, their encouragement.  Someone might even carry you for a while.  They make it possible for you to cross the finish line.

People cheering for finishers of the Boston Marathon

And, have you ever noticed the finish line at marathons?  People are cheering and clapping and encouraging the runners whether they are in first place of 1,001st place.  Some people stay at the finish line all day just to cheer for those who finish the race.

I wonder who will be at the finish line cheering when I get done with my marathon?  Maybe some loved ones who finished their race long ago.  Maybe some parishioners or friends.  There may be people in heaven who just stand at the gate and cheer for anyone who enters.  I like the idea of that – I want to sign up for that job!  I would like to think that Jesus might even be at the finish line, encouraging everyone to finish their race.  Perhaps he will even carry over those who have come to the end too weak to finish.

Do not give up on running your marathon.  The life of faith can be a challenge.  Who might be waiting on you to cross that finish line?

Remember Hebrews 12:1-3:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.