Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Only Race That Matters

How much do we trust God?

I'm a runner and I truly enjoy the experience of running alone. It's my time of reflection where I do my deepest thinking. 

I also enjoy participating in races! One race I enjoy the most is the ultra marathon. I have had the pleasure of running this race with a large group of other crazy runners who love it just as much as I do. One race I have never tried is the trail ultra marathon where you head out into the desert alone and complete the race 50-100 miles in 10 mile loops. That idea terrifies me! I like the 1 mile loop that connects me to other runners, the food tent, the port-a-potties, and a comfy chair I can rest on when needed. 

But to be out there for ten miles at a time alone in the desert? That's risky. There are snakes out there! There's more of a chance of falling down and getting injured, especially in the dark. Running through the desert in the dark...now that's crazy!

I prefer the safety of the 1 mile loop. I prefer the security of being with other runners. I prefer the known rather than the unknown.

We Christians tend to be like this. During our life-long race, we tend to enjoy the security of the seen instead of the unseen...


After listening to Dr. R.C. Sproul teach about when God called Moses to return to Egypt to perform a miracle, I was reminded of all that God asks His servants to do. 

If God asked you to reach down and pick up a poisonous snake by the tail, would you?

God's tasks are never easy ones. These tasks tend to take us out of our comfort zones.

Sometimes we Christians forget that we aren't called to a fluffy white perfect marshmallow existence here on God's green earth. We tend to think that the word "Christian" means: having a perfect life.

How far from the truth can that be? Pretty darn far...

I hate snakes, so if God asked me...or commanded me...to pick up a snake by its tail, I know I would question Him. I know I would hesitate. 

Well, this year has been about as challenging as picking up a rattlesnake by its tail. I experienced my mother's death this month and this comes only 5 months after grieving my sister's death from cancer. Now the grieving process has started all over again. My treacherous trail ultra-marathon has begun!

This is the task that God has appointed unto me. Frankly, I'd rather pick up the snake, for crying out loud. 

When God commanded Moses to go back to Egypt and perform miracles in front of the Pharaoh, no one can blame him for questioning God's choice. "Who, me?" 

I have been asking God the same thing lately. "Who, me? You want me to handle all this on my own? Me?"


God doesn't expect any of us to handle anything on our own. This is what women need to learn more and more in this time of feminism. Being alone is not part of God's perfect plan. Being alone was what God called "not good" when He created Adam. And so, He gave Adam a helper. He gave Eve to Adam. 

God has given me my helper, my husband, Scott. But He has also given me The Helper, the Holy Spirit in addition to Himself. 

I will never go into Egypt alone to face the Pharaohs of this world. God goes with me and He carries me through the storms. I never have to run the race alone through the desert facing all the risks out there.

No, I will endure this ultra-marathon with my God who loves me. I don't know what else is coming, but I do know He feels I can handle it with His help. 

The Race

Before you run a race, it's wise to take a look at the route. God gives us the route in His word and He also provided us with the testimonies of those who have gone before us! We can learn from their wisdom.

Hebrews 12:1 "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..."

The longer I live, the more I understand why Paul and the other writers of the New Testament used running the race as a metaphor for this Christian life with God.

It is a race! It is the most difficult race set before us: one through the dark desert trails full of obstacles and dangers all the while the approaching storms bring the cold wind and rain...not fun!

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."

I will continue training by being in God's Word, praying to Him, and trusting in Him while I endure these obstacles He has put before me. I will work on my stride, my dietary needs, and hydration during the race. I will trust in Him when the darkness comes and the hungry coyotes howl in the distance. When the snakes cross my path, I will not falter.

And my God will be there the entire time.

My goal? Like Moses...like Paul...like Jesus: To finish this race strong!

2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

Let us all face this race prepared and on task so we can all cross the finish line together! It isn't an easy one. No white fluffy marshmallow creme trails. No. It is challenging.

But we can trust God. He has gone before us and He will go with us.