Friday, September 21, 2012
Running the race...together
This week's Bible verse:
"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods." -- Psalm 40:4
I have a few friends who run marathons. The thought of that just makes me cringe. I am glad and thrilled that they do it, but I can't even imagine!
And the fact that in the Bible, Paul often compares our earthly lives as a race toward the finish sometimes doesn't satisfy my mind because I don't have much frame of reference to understand all that is involved in running in a long race. But, even though I have never run track or been in a marathon, I have seen enough of those events on tv that I get the idea.
Hebrews 12:1 says that we are encouraged to run "the race that was marked out for us." I take that to mean that although we are all headed to the same distination, heaven and eternity with God, we each have a specific course, or path that God places us on. My journey to the finish line may look totally different than yours. It is tempting to compare my race course to the courses of others. Some seem more challenging, but some seem much easier! I wish I were on THAT course!
The great thing about our God is that he doesn't just set the course for us and then leave us to it. If we take it, there is MUCH encouragement along the way. For one thing, it is comforting to know that God has plans for us...plans to prosper and not harm us and plans to give us hope and a future. While you are on the race course, you have to realize that God only wants the best for you and when you reach the finish line, you will be rewarded with a great future! That gives me hope enough to keep going during the hard parts of the race.
He also doesn't leave us on the track alone...he provides us with opportunities to get cheered on by others in the race as well! They are on their own course, but when they see us struggling in our race, they can cheer, encourage and push us on. Who are these cheerleaders? Well, I believe that is why God gave us the church...our community of fellow racers who both give and need cheering on. We can do that for others and they can do that for us. Many people don't see the need to go to church...they can learn about and worship God on their own. But...the church is not just a place to learn and worship. It is a group of like-minded people who can become your supportive, loving family or community that keeps you going.
Romans 8:28-29 says that God works for the good of those who love him, and he wants us to reflect the image of Christ, our example, so others will see and be drawn to Christ themselves and become part of our loving and suppotive family.
When we love God and run the race TOGETHER, we can benefit from God's good works, and show others how the race is easier with God than without him!
We know that the race ends in a victory that lasts forever...our reward will be much better than a trophy that collects dust on a shelf and falls apart! And the good thing...in most races there is only one winner. In God's race, anyone who loves him and runs the race together, cheering, encouraging and accepting encouragement from others will get to the finish line in God's time as a winner!