I don’t know about you, but I have never been a runner – in any sense of the word. If I try to run, I think a better word to describe me would be a “panter” or a “can’t-breath-er” or maybe even an “oh-my-someone-please-help-me-I’m-out-to-pass-out-er.” This is why I swam instead. But, I remember there were days on the swim team -those rare, painful, tortuous summer days – when we ran in the woods behind my school. Those days, I struggled. I struggled a lot. But I remember some of my friends and teammates who would stay with me, even with all of my huffing and puffing. They would sing songs and talk to me to distract me and it honestly really helped. I was really grateful for them in those times.
This past week in my New Testament class, we finished studying the book of Hebrews. Two verses which really stuck out to me were Hebrews 12:1-2. They read:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Running for me is hard. Running the race of life is even harder. This is very much a long distance race, one that we can’t really know when it will end. And, on this race, we will trip and we will fall. It will happen, and when we get up, we get up with more baggage than we had before. We carry it with us on this race of life and it gets hard. Our shoulders will start to droop; our legs will get tired; we will feel like we can’t go on anymore. But, this scripture tells us what we can do. We need to “lay aside every weight and sin” and “run with patience the race that is set before us.” The first step is repentance. If we truly repent with a sincere heart, we can lay aside the baggage of sin and will be able to endure this race of life with patience. That is awesome and an amazing blessing.
But then the scripture continues on in the next verse calling Jesus the “finisher of our faith.” I really like that. I would not have made it through running on those days in the swim team without my friends running along with me. And, honestly, I would not even be able to finish just a normal race without going into a coma, so the fact that Christ is the finisher of our faith, the finisher of our race, is really reassuring to me. After we run as far as we can, Christ will take the baton from our hands, and He will continue on and finish the race. That is an amazing promise, and it’s one that is given to each and every one of us. We just have to start running.