Words of Hope: Running the Race
I recently listened to the Pray as You Go app, and the scripture passage was from Hebrews. As I listened to the passage I thought, “I wonder what Dad would say or write to me if he could give me a message about this passage.” Just after this thought entered my mind, the speaker said, “Stop and imagine you are receiving a letter right now. You open the letter and it is writing to encourage you to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily encumbers and run with endurance the race set before you.” Of course, I started to cry when I heard this. I think of my dad sending me a letter to throw off my weights and sins.
First, I consider weight as some form of burden which may or may not be a “bad” thing. It’s something that robs me of the desire to run the race. The burden of stuff, of too much to do, of grief, hurt, loss, regret, and mainly fear. Then, I consider sin. I define sin as what blocks my relationship with God – with Love. What blocks or impedes love and God’s presence in my life? I think perfectionism, ego, and the desire to appear better than I am, are high on the list.
I consider endurance. Dad loved Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship named the Endurance. Shackleton’s story is a perfect metaphor of endurance; race of survival requiring resilience in hardship, discipline in hope, perseverance, and dogged determination to keep going in the face of obstacles. How does weariness tempt me to stop running the race Christ has set before me? I consider King David. He had a tremendous moral and spiritual fall in his relationship with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. Before this all happens, the Bible says, “In the spring of the year when all the other kings went to war, David stayed home.” He was weary but more importantly he wasn’t where he was called to be. He stopped running the race.
The letter also reminded me about the crowd of witnesses cheering me on. I believe Dad is part of that crowd. Sometimes, I sense him saying, “Put down that burden, don’t get caught in that web of sin.” I have had a few times where I have wanted to quit but I powered through, and I could feel his encouragement and joy. I have had times where I have sensed his recommendation to slow down. I know he is cheering me on and therefore I ask God for the strength to run with endurance the race set before me.
“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.” – Hebrews 12:1-2