Written by: Pastor Noah Wieler
Most of us hate running! Some of us are capable of short distances, maybe the distance between the house and the car when we are late! But for many, the thought of the pain that running causes is enough to stop us from putting in the effort.
In my early teens, I competed in a marathon for the first time. The grueling months of training that led up to the race were filled with sweat, pain, and numerous moments of self-doubt. Every morning was a struggle to get up a five am and run 10-20 miles before I went to work, but I knew I had to. If I wanted to improve and grow as a runner, I had to put in the work. I had to make sacrifices. There were moments when every muscle screamed for me to stop, when I could not breathe and my mind would tell me, “Give up! Stop running! It's not worth it. What are you even accomplishing?”
When reflecting on our spiritual journeys, there is an uncanny resemblance between a physical marathon and a Christian walk.
In Hebrews 12:1, the writer makes this similar comparison: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Jesus, God incarnate, has laid before all of us a track on which he calls us to run. Christ calls us to persevere through the hard times, when our muscles are cramped up and we are out of breath and feel like giving up, to keep going and knowing that He has run this race before us and is running beside us.
The Apostle Paul also writes in 1 Cor. 9:25 “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Crossing that finish line in my first marathon was exhilarating, transforming all those months of struggle into a moment of triumph was an incredible feeling, unlike anything else. The prize for winning a marathon is a ribbon, but the prize for running with Christ is even greater than a ribbon, it is an eternal relationship with the person of God.