This past week I started a 12 week training cycle for the Indianapolis Monumental ½ Marathon.
I stepped out the door this morning to a beautiful, crisp, late summer pre-dawn morning. The sun
wasn’t quite up yet, the Centerville school buses had not left their evening and weekend parking
lot places, there was little traffic on the road, and the quiet and gentle morning touched my soul
as my feet pounded the pavement each step of my run. I run one long run during each week of
my training; this morning’s long run was quite short in comparison to what is coming up over the
next few weeks but it was still a challenging run. I’ve trained for a few half marathons over the
last 14 years and I know that hardest runs of this training cycle are yet to come. The discipline
of the training, the quiet of the morning runs, and the pay off of good health make each of these
runs a blessing in the midst of the early morning wake up calls and the huffing and puffing as I
try and increase my distance and speed for the race in November.
Why do I do all of this training? Well, the obvious reasons are to maintain and improve my
health, a reason to get some exercise, (which is good for stress management and who doesn’t
need help with stress management these days?) and to satisfy a little bit of that somewhat
compulsive personality of mine. But, I also love to see that finish line at the end of the race. No
matter how well or how mediocre or how awful I might run any particular race, the finish line
tells me that I’ve persevered in my training, persevered in the race, persevered in this area of my
life. And that has all sorts of implications about how I might persevere in life in general and most
importantly, how I persevere in this life of faith and hope in Jesus Christ.
The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us that our spiritual life is a lot like training for a half
marathon running race. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us “And let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Our life of faith
and hope in Christ is like a race; a race in which training, discipline, and hope keeps us in the
race despite the long distance we run. We realize that it’s not always going to be easy, but
keep our eyes on the finish line, and in the midst of it all, feel, hear, and see the soft, beautiful
mornings of our faith run. Most importantly throughout our “runs”, “we fix our eyes on Jesus, the
pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
May we all have blessings on our “run” with Christ!