Saturday, May 7, 2016
The Long Sprint
Can you stand one more racing analogy? Today I ran (and here I use that term loosely) another 5k race.
I know I've been running markedly slower lately, but today's finish was slower than even my normal runs around the block. It was the worst finish ever for a 5k--not only marking the longest time but also finishing in tears with my tongue literally sticking to the roof of my mouth. Sorry, that may fall into the 'too much information' category.
There were a few extenuating circumstances that contributed to making this race tough, but I'll spare you the details. I asked God to help me learn something about perseverance in this race by not stopping to walk.
But...walk I did.
The first mile went well and was faster than I expected but my mouth was dry already. By the time I hit the water stop I had to walk so I could drink every drop in my cup. And, there's something about walking in a race. It's like giving into temptation; when you do it once it's easier to do it again.
So I kept throwing in some walk breaks and I just couldn't seem to get past my thirst. I finally stopped to drink at a water fountain I spotted at about the 2 mile mark.
When I saw the 3 mile marker I decided to pull out my best sprint (this time I use the term VERY loosely.) I knew I could pick up my pace for that last tenth of a mile.
That's where it got tough. I tried to keep pushing but that last tenth had to be measured WAY longer than it should have been. Seriously. And we just seemed to keep running around a curve so I couldn't see the finish line anywhere.
By the time I finally saw it, tears were streaming down my face and all I could think of was WATER. You know, it's very hard to sob and run at the same time. Somehow I made it over the line.
I was first in my age group. In all honesty, I must tell you I was the only one in my age group. Still, I feel I earned that participation medal and coupon for a free Arby's sandwich. Neither of those could compare to the bottle of water I begged for at the end of the race.
As I sat wobbling with my back against a tree guzzling that water, I thought again about how that race compares to life.
Maybe some of you thought you were close to the finish on a really hard season of life but it just won't seem to end. You keep putting one foot in front of the other. You try to sprint to get it to go by faster, yet you still can't see the finish. Your strength is fading and you feel like you're dying of thirst. And the tears come, followed by the sobs.
Man, I feel for you. My race this morning ended in just 33 lonnnnggggg minutes, but yours may have been extending for months or years. I encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don't try to anticipate the finish line. Trust that God knows where it is and just keep moving forward step by step in His strength, depending on the Living Water.
That sprint (or crawl) may be much longer than you thought it would be, but there's a prize at the end. God's pleasure in you when you finish the race will be much better than an Arby's coupon.
And that's a measurement you can count on.
Posted by Kathy Schriefer at 6:38 PM