In 1 Cor 9:24 the Apostle Paul writes: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
I remember the year I ran the Comrades Marathon. It was 2010 and I was aiming for a 10-hour finish time. But at 26k’s into the race, my ITB tore, and all hopes of that time – even just finishing – seemed to vanish.
But I persisted – took a few painkillers, told my running partners to go on without me, and hobbled along for the next 40km. By the time I got to Pinetown I was done. The pain was too much to bear, I felt completely alone, and I was on the verge of quitting. But then I heard a familiar voice calling out my name from behind me…
It was my mom.
She was a seasoned runner, far slower than I (not this day apparently!), and tough as nails. She caught me at the bottom of Fields Hill and we embraced each other as mother and son. We both burst into tears (mainly me) and I began to complain, “It’s too far, I’m in too much pain, I’ll never make it, I…” But before I could finish my sentence, my mother grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Tom, we can do this. I’m with you. We are going to finish this fucking race!”
It was the first time I had ever heard my mom swear, and it kind of kicked me back into gear! “Yes Mam!” I said obediently. And pretty much from then on, I followed her lead. She told me when to walk, when to run, and literally took me by the hand all the way to Durban. We crossed the finish line with 17 minutes to spare. We had done it. And I swore that day – never again!
Now the reason I tell you that story, is because perhaps today, you are feeling like I felt at the bottom of Fields Hill.
You’re tired, your worn out, perhaps you’re in pain – physical or emotional, and you’re convinced you’re not gonna make it. Perhaps you’ve been asking God for a breakthrough and you’re just not seeing it. Maybe there are relational tensions you’re dealing with. Perhaps you feel like you’re alone in this race of life.
Well if that’s you, let me encourage you from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. He says, “When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience.”
In other words, he says, you were running well.
“Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up.”
He says, “Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, for God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
This is a beautiful and powerful promise.
That as a Christ-follower, we have God’s power – His energy – His Spirit – at work within us, not only giving us the desire to finish well, but the power to as well.
Just like my mother was there for me – God, our heavenly Father, is along side you.
And whatever it is you are facing, know that He is there, holding your hand, saying, “C’mon you can do this, no WE can do this!”
Phil 4:3 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 says, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
And so, my prayer for you today is that you would know you are not alone in this race we call life.
When my mom and I crossed that Comrades finish line hand-in-hand, it was a powerful and profound moment I will never forget.
And so may your strength and your courage be renewed today in Christ. May you know His presence, His power, and His provision.
And may you run, and not grow weary.