We often think of running a race as just that, running, as fast as you can and as hard as you can towards a finish line. Blood pumping, adrenaline nigh, excitement and anticipation pulsing through your body as you see your finish line getting closer and closer! Running a race you can see the end to is easy enough, and many people would even consider it enjoyable. It's exciting because you KNOW you are going to reach the end, often you can SEE it before you even start running. But what about the races we cannot see the end of? What about those of us who feel like we have been running for months, years, or even decades? Towards a goal, a finish line, that we never seem to reach. This message today is for us. The ones soaked in sweat and tears, the ones who live our lives falling and getting back up, bruised and battered and heart broken. Yet still we run. We run through valleys of depression, mountains of adversity, deserts of hopelessness, winding trails of illnesses, and sometimes we run through utter darkness, with no light except the Fathers promises. His Word guiding us towards that place of rest and peace in him. This is just another reminder, one we all need. He sees us!
When we run through the valleys of depression, he is right there to comfort us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When we face mountains of adversity he is our peace. (Philippians 4:7)
When we find ourselves in the desert of hopelessness he reminds us of his goodness. (1 Chronicles 16:12)
When we are wading through illness he is our healer! (Jeremiah 17:14)
And when we are running through that utter darkness, lost and terrified and confused HE IS OUR LIGHT! (John 8:12)
I don't know about all of you, but during some of my races I find myself looking for an easy way out. Any way that I can side step the path in front of me and take an easier one with less resistance. After all, none of us want to run a race with illness or depression. And there are times when God will show you a quick way out. Then there are times when God says, "I know this is hard, but we have to finish this one. We are taking the long way this time". Those are the races that test us, that push us to the very edge. But those are also the races that build the most endurance! Which leads to stronger faith and closer intimacy with our father!
Our precious and adoring father knows we will stumble, struggle, and even fail. He knows how exhausted we are, and how afraid, and even doubtful we can be. The good news is he loves us anyway! He is the perfect One, he is the love, grace, and mercy every human needs in their life. He will always be right there to help us back up, give us a drink of his living water, wipe our tears, take our hand, and shine a light in the darkness. Every time!
I hope this encourages you this week my dear friends. That it gives you just a bit more endurance to keep running your race. I hope it reminds you that you are seen. You are seen by the one who matters most. The one whose heart yearns for closeness with us.
So that in the end we may say "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV