A few years back I joined our school’s cross country team. I love running but I have to say you don’t always experience people at their best in the midst of a five kilometer run. First, there is the run itself. Running a race at that distance is difficult. Second, the conditions of the race are seldom ideal. Weather can range from bitter cold to blazing hot and we will run through mud, gravel, up hills, through woods, and on narrow courses. And finally, some people are tired, sore, and thinking they are going to die because of the race, while others will push, shove, and say disrespectful things. I can tell you that I sometimes struggle in how I run the race – and not only in Cross Country races. I want to do better but sometimes I find myself reacting to people or the conditions of life in ways that aren’t my best.
My team always prays together before a race. We dedicate the race to Christ and work to give credit to Him. Focusing on running the race for Christ affects how I run the race. It is hard to be too disrespectful to others right after you pray to dedicate the race to God! Throughout life, I have found that the same principle applies. When I pray less and focus less on Christ, the more difficulty I have living the way Christ wants. But, when I spend time in devotion with Christ, I find myself more relaxed in the race and in life.
In races, just because we prayed doesn’t mean the race will be easy. There is pain in a cross country race! We pray because we know the race will be hard. We don’t pray to make it easier, but to help us run the race well. As Christians we face difficulties at every turn. Following Christ isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding. While I may have pain in a Cross Country race or in the race of life, I know that I have someone with me to back me up, give me strength, and be a support that I can lean upon to face the challenges ahead.
Throughout the race of life, focus on God and know that He will be with you for all the obstacles.
Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us… – Hebrews 12:1
Brooks Lambert, St. Luke’s Youth