IF:Gathering is weeks away. I lay awake heart racing many nights picturing what could happen. What could happen if we came together in unity, laid down the things hindering us and ran our races together for the name of God in our generation?
Many years ago I wrote these words. I think in analogy. Trees and Batman and Ships and Cake and I can’t help it. Ugh- I hate cheesy anything. But honestly sometimes explaining, relating to God is difficult and this just helps my simple mind.
I thought before we gather in February it helps to know where you begin. Where are you in this story?
When I met Christ, he set me on a track, and I began running a race with fervor, surrounded by people cheering. I felt motivated, purposeful, full of joy. My eyes weren’t distracted. Jesus was in full focus, and the point of this race felt clear. But as I ran, I noticed more and more people tangled up in the weeds, to my left and right. Some of them had stopped running, distracted by something, and some of them had stopped because they were in pain.
I kept running, but I began to feel lonely. So I began to ask myself questions that were once clear to me: Why am I running again?
Then I tripped. I was hurt.
Now I was the one on the side of the road. I was tired and in pain. It felt good to stop running. I pulled myself close to some other hurt runners. We told stories and jokes, and eventually we were comfortable together. As if there weren’t even a race—as if we weren’t even hurt.
Every once in a while a runner called to me, “Come on, Jennie! Come back and run with us!” But no one ever stopped to really help me. They just ran by. As time passed, I picked up some entertaining hobbies on the side of the road. The hobbies temporarily motivated me and made me feel a little fulfilled again. My injured ankle never fully healed, but I quit thinking about it—it did not hurt quite as badly as it used to. And before long, we discovered great entertain- ment in critiquing the remaining runners—their shorts, hair, pace, attitude.
Until one day a small pack of runners turned off the road and headed toward me. I wished they would go away. But they didn’t. I remembered passing them back when I was running; they had been on the side of the road with injuries, all tangled up. They ran right up to me and sat down.
One of them handed me water and another one had medical supplies. They asked me a question:
“Do you need help?”
For some reason I said yes, and before I finished uttering the word they were wrapping my ankle, giving me food and water, and talking to me about the race again—about how much I had missed, how much they needed me. “We want you to run the rest of the way with us. It is really getting exciting, and we don’t have much farther.”
Something dead inside me woke up. A fire relit itself in my chest. My ankle still hurt, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to reck- lessly run with all my heart again, because they reminded me of the reason that we run.
I am running to bring glory to my Father God, who gave me a purpose and a hope when I was unworthy, on the side of the road, broken. Now our little misfit team stops for every runner we see on the side of the road. We stop and offer them the same healing and hope that was offered to us. I sense God’s pleasure as we run and as we stop for those who have fallen off to the side.
Something in me physically craves the last part of that story. I crave freedom to run. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1). You were running a good race. Who cut in on you? Where did you get off track?
Where are you?
Numb or Distracted on the side of the road?
Ready to Run?
Running your guts out?
Helping others run?
Share it with us.