By Mike Yoho
THE RACE SET BEFORE US
For the past several months I have been training for a marathon. This event is scheduled to take place in January 2014. This is the first and probably the last time I will train for and participate in such an event.
One thing I have learned is that training takes time: hours and hours on the road alone with my thoughts, prayers and reflections. As I have moved along in times of training I have pondered lessons from running that might apply to life in general and spiritual lessons in particular.I thought about this article.
Twice in the last month I fell during my runs. Thankfully, I was not hurt physically. The only thing that was damaged was my pride along with my running tights (I know…you’re getting an unwanted visual image). After each fall, I jumped up and looked around to see if anyone witnessed my embarrassing tumble. I also thought about what might have caused my calamity since I am not accustomed to falling.
On both occasions, my fall came when I as looking at my watch. Another thing I have learned: running is a challenge for the mind. In order to manage the length of time I have found that focusing on a distant object or target can make the intervening time seem quicker. At the same time, since I usually run on uneven pavement I also have to keep watch on the obstacles in my immediate path. Look up and look down. It is possible to look towards the distant goal while keeping an eye out for the things that might trip me up in my nearer future.
This is true with my spiritual run as well. I am focused on Jesus and serving Him with my life and I am interested in overcoming the obstacles that are in my direct path. It is a long distance run, not a sprint. Hebrews 12:1,2 captures the thought well for me, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
What about my fall? Both times my fall came when I took my eyes off the road and looked at my watch trying to determine my pace and distance covered. I am reminded of the time Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk with Him on the water. All was well until the distraction of the waves, he began to sink.
Times of falling happen when we turn our eyes from the path before us to the distractions that always present themselves. Is this not the lesson of David and Bathsheba along with many others from the Word of God? Thankfully, the Lord is always willing to extend His hand to help us up.
Hopefully, we learn to focus on the road ahead and limit the distractions that can so easily cause us to stumble.
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