Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Running the Race

Hebrews 12:1-2  Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God

As I've walked an unfamiliar path on the journey of life the last week, I found myself thinking about this passage.  I've pondered it in my mind; I've talked through it with others; I've thought about each word, the phrases, the characters represented, and its relevance to life as I know it.  I find in it encouragement and motivation.  It leaves me in awe and overwhelmed.  It reminds me that there is more to this life than is obvious to the human eye, to our frail minds, or to any empirical evidence.

 So, here we are on earth.  We're running a race. And, as I've experienced most often, it's rarely a sprint; it's most often a marathon.  We're surrounded by who?  We're surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  They're observing us in the race.  They're "all around us"--maybe visible to the human eye maybe not.  We're running toward a goal, toward a prize.  We're instructed to keep our eye on Jesus.  He is the author and the perfecter of our faith story, of our journey.  He's the one who began the story.  He's the one who initiated the story.  He's the one who's been putting pen to paper from the beginning.  He's written every detail of our faith story.  He's still writing our story and He's not finished.  He's the one who will write it to perfection.  All the while He is seated at the right hand of God the father who is on the throne. We just keep running the race and He keeps writing the story.  We run with patience.  We shed the weights that are keeping us back, tying us down, hindering our progress, delaying our growth.  We confess and repent and turn from the sin that is besetting (attacking from all sides, troubling persistently, harassing, hemming in, surrounding).  Why?  Why do we run, why do we lay aside the weight, why do we cast off the sin?  Because of Jesus.  For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross!!!  He despised shame.  He's in heaven at the right hand of God making intercession for us.  He's interceding on our behalf.  He's making sense out of our groans and moans, our agonies and pains, the mumbling and fumbling we do when we're really trying to make sense out of what really doesn't make sense.  He's making sense out of our best efforts gone bad.  He's making sense out of mess-ups and our mishaps.

I've been reminded this week that there's a race to run but not just to run.  There's a race to finish.  I want to finish well.  I'm encouraged as I think about the witnesses that are cheering me on from the "grand stands".  They've received the prize.  They are seeing my struggles and would urge me in my darkest hours, in my moments where I feel like a complete failure, in my times where I wonder what's the point, "don't give up Jennifer.  life's only a vapor.  push through to the end.  on the other side of this struggle there's victory.  every test is worth the testimony."  They would urge me to endure the struggles with perseverance, with patience, and with purpose.   

I've been reminded that I have a choice to make.  There's so much in my life-everyday!!!-that will weigh me down and hinder me if I am not exercising discipline.  If I do not make wise decisions about the boundaries I place on my life, if I don't guard the gate, and if I don't choose to keep running every day, I will find myself out of shape, overweight, and infected with all kinds of things that overtake my ability to finish the race and finish well. 

Finally, I am so thankful for the reminder that JESUS is the one who is writing my story.  He's been writing my story for a long time.  Things that happen along my race ABSOLUTELY will never catch Him by surprise.  SO, when I make foolish decisions and live with regrets, when I wish and wish I could go back to a certain point in my life and relive it differently from that point forward, when I find myself in the middle of an unexpected trauma, NONE of that was or is a surprise to Him.  He's still writing my story and wants me to let my story be for His GLORY!!!  I am thankful that even when I feel like I've messed up or I've missed out, He's still not finished writing my story.  All that is necessary is to lay aside and look to Jesus and keep on running!!!! 

Today, I want to run with perseverance the race that is set before me.  I don't know what the course for the race is.  I'm not sure the distance for this race or where it might take me and my family.  I'm not sure what bumps, curves, or rough terrain we might face.  BUT, I do know that when those things happen that Jesus is the author of that story.  He began it and He'll complete it.  All the while, He's sitting at the right hand of God making intercession on my behalf.  So, I'm committing today and for my tomorrows to run this race with joy!!!


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