Christ Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Run the Race

In 1992 when the Olympics were held in Barcelona, Spain, the world saw one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. Derek Redmond, a young man from Britain, had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race. He had worked hard to get to the Olympics and his dream was within his reach. He was in the semi-finals and was running the race of his life. He could see the finish line just ahead as he rounded the final turn. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg, and he fell to the track with a torn muscle in his right leg.

As the medical attendants ran toward him, Derek struggled to his feet. He started to hop toward the finish line on one foot in an attempt to finish the race. Suddenly, a large man came out of the stands, pushed aside a security guard and ran to Derek's side. It was Jim Redmond, Derek's father. "You don't have to do this," he told his son. "Yes, I do," said Derek. "Well, then," said his father, "we're going to finish this together."

And they did. They stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end. At first, the crowd watched in silence. Then they rose to their feet and cheered—and wept.  Derek Redmond didn't win the gold medal, but he walked away with the incredible memory of a loving father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.

As I have begun to (almost) daily haul myself out of bed and go running in the mornings (ever since getting ready for the 5K run at the National Youth Gathering) I’ve realized that there are some mornings when I feel more than ready to pound the pavement, and I can achieve a personal record of one sort or another.  However, there are also mornings like this morning, a rainy morning, when I had a harder time with running.  No records were shattered at all.  Not. Even. Close.

Days like today—and all days—are good days to remember the words of Hebrews 12:1-2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (ESV)

Even when life is hard, you and I have a loving Father who is cheering us on, and He is there to pick us up, too.  He will keep us in the one true faith, by the power of His Word.  In fact, we praise God that Jesus, God’s Son, is indeed the author and perfecter of our faith!

There are those who see religion as a way for us to somehow achieve a successful, happy life, and they won’t tolerate anything getting in the way of their personal success. Such people have a hard time dealing with inconveniences.  However, we know better, for our faith in Jesus Christ is not the stuff of get-rich-quick gurus or life coaches or talk show hosts.  No, it is way better than that.  We gather together in faith and draw our strength from Word and Sacrament because that is how “hurt, flawed, and wounded persons become whole in relation to God.”[i]  

Together in faith, we face every obstacle that life throws our way by relying on our Heavenly Father who loves us so very much for the sake of Jesus Christ!  
 
 Prayer: Dear Jesus, sometimes life is difficult. Help us to keep our eyes on you and to run the race that is before us. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Pastor Daryn
 
   [i] This phrase is taken from Eugene H. Peterson’s book, “Run with the Horses,” as quoted in “God’s Message for Each Day,” p. 245.

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