"...let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us."
Umm. Can I skip this part? I've said several times before that when I ran the umpteen times around the track for some test in high school, I almost passed out, was sent home, and spent an utterly exhausted week in bed (probably early signs of autoimmune issues). Yeah, well, that's how I feel right now. I think I'll stay in bed. Perhaps when they say, "let's run," I'll say, "Let's not today, okay?"
You know those tire workouts--no, not the one where someone drags a tire around the block like at our local fitness center (which makes me wonder if they have a life)--but the ones that football players to Marines have to step lively through. Sometimes I feel like that's the kind of race we have to run stepping carefully and quickly to avoid all the entrapments before us.
Since they can only see 10 feet ahead of them,
Buffalo stare straight ahead
but run 50 mph.
Yep, there it is, the word "endurance." Keep on keeping on. Perseverance. Here's some quotes from our much loved college chaplain, Reuben Welch (kinfolk of mine) when he preached his classic sermon on Hebrews 12...
"There is a struggle to be struggled.
There is endurance to be endured.
There is a goal to be achieved..."
"When you run out of fantastic, persevere!"
"There's a difference between the emotion at the beginning of the race
and how you feel when you've swum a couple of laps...
And I know the difference in how you feel at the beginning,
And how you feel in the middle,
And how you feel at the end."
"I have a clear mental image of this...
Here is the Christian pilgrim running up
the path of glory.
Can you see him?
There he is...
his spindly legs are pounding the turf.
He is on his way.
He looks like a wise man escapee from
the Sunday school Christmas program.
He has his robe.
He has his sash.
And he's running up the king's highway.
And pretty soon his robe begins to flap in the breeze,
and his sash comes loose,
and it wraps around legs--
and he falls.
Then he gets up,
puts on a Band-Aid,
and starts running again,
and the wind begins to catch his clothes
and his sash begins to flail in the wind,
and he trips and stumbles...
God says, 'Lay it aside."
I'm talking to some of you who are so sophisticated
and worldly wise that
you can have a little booze now and then
because you are liberated.
You're not bound by church disciplines...
and it tears you up and causes you to fall.
And some of you have rationalized it
until you think you can have a little sex now and then.
(You haven't been this quiet since I don't know when--
we were there when he preached this sermon in Pt. Loma's chapel.)
I think God has something to say to us about this.
I sure wish I had time
to tell you all your weights.
That would bless me!
But my real problem is finding out what mine are,
but I've learned from this passage
how to find out.
I'll tell you how to find out what they are--
As long as you're standing around you can be all wrapped up.
You can have towels and weights
and bathrobes and sashes.
You can be bound hand and foot
and it won't make much difference--
but if you start moving toward God
you will begin to find out what cause you to stumble.
And what causes you to stumble
has got to be laid aside!
I'm not sure we are called to be '*streakers for Jesus,'
but I am sure that we are called to lay aside
those sins which so easily beset and destroy,
and run with persevereance
the race set before us."
(I was only going to quote from Reuben a little bit, but it's all 'good stuff.')
I just know if I haven't laid aside weights and things that will trip me up, I'll fall down; and at my age, if I fall down, I'll really get hurt--break a hip or something more damaging to my spiritual life. Suddenly, I look up (or look in my mirror) and realize I may be getting closer to the end. Now I'm only able to put one foot in front of the other. That's okay as long as I go forward. Unlike as in other races, God is not up there with a stopwatch in His hand. He just wants us to cross the finish line. I always heard about getting that second wind, but I never got it. However, I do know that without the fresh breath of the Holy Spirit, I'd never make it.
*Talk about streakers! The original Olympic athletes competed in the breezy, if you get my jist. Most commentators believe this is the picture the writer is flashing before us. But we won't talk about the college guy who streaked through chapel after this, now will we j.f.