Moving Truth from the Head to the Heart
When I was a high schooler I ran cross country. It was a perfect chance for me to learn some lessons about life, and especially about spiritual life, because for one thing it was hard to run two miles at the fastest speed possible (which for some of us wasn’t very fast) and hope to finish the whole race.
Life is like that if you think about it; you run and run and hope at the end you will have enough energy to finish. Often you don’t even have enough energy left to worry if you passed anyone along the way; it’s just a personal struggle to arrive at the finish and hope you placed well.
One day God used this illustration of a cross country race to encourage me that He was always there cheering me on and telling me I could do it. I envisioned myself running along, feeling like I couldn’t breathe and wondering if I would make it. And I saw in my imagination God standing there saying things like, “Go! Go! You’re doing great! See that person up there? Catch up with them. You can do it!” (These were all things which in fact had been yelled to me from the sidelines of my own cross country races.)
Finally I rounded the last corner and headed in to the finish. People were cheering and I was almost there. I looked up at my goal and there I could see God smiling and cheering, and when I got closer…it was Daddy.
You see, Daddy was always there at my cross country races. He was always on the sidelines cheering and encouraging me to keep going and look to a higher goal. He was always there at the finish line to put his arm around me and tell me I had done a good job. And he was an example to me of God my Heavenly Father.
So, Daddy, I just wanted to thank you for the guidance and encouragement along the way. And I know that when I get ready to cross the finish line of life, you will be there to put your arm around me and tell me what a good job I’ve done.
This was written as a gift for my Daddy’s 60th birthday party in 1996. He finished his race a couple of years ago and is now waiting at the finish line for me.
Who needs to hear your cheers? You don’t have to be their parent. Be “Jesus with skin on” to someone in your life who needs some encouragement today.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2