It has been an exhausting week. The nation came to halt on Monday afternoon at the news of another terrorist attack on our country—this time on American soil. We watched in horror as the scenes played out on television of the Boston Marathon bombing. Our hearts grieved at the loss of three young people—one just a child—and the one hundred and eighty who lost limbs or had other grave injuries. We were touched by those who ran toward the danger to help others, but not surprised. That is the way Americans react in times of crisis.
The Boston Marathon had come to a screeching halt, but as the week progressed we watched the manhunt for the terrorists who had committed this terrible act unfold before our eyes. We viewed with bated breath as the suspects were gradually identified and pursued. We collectively breathed a sigh of relief when one was dead and the other captured. And we have prayed for the victims and their families throughout this whole ordeal.
While the runners in the marathon had been stopped in their tracks, an entire community on the other side of the country ran for their lives. A horrific explosion in West, Texas wiped out much of that small town, killing fourteen and injuring more than two hundred people. Once again, first responders ran toward the danger—and some paid with their lives. It is important that we continue to uphold the people of West in prayer, as well.
Just watching these events on television has been emotionally exhausting. I cannot begin to comprehend the level of weariness the people of Boston and West have experienced this week, especially those most severely affected by these tragedies and the emergency responders who tended to them or worked tirelessly to resolve the issues. The reports have said that those just finishing the 26 mile marathon leaped into action to help, or ran on to give blood, despite their exhaustion from the race.
The apostle Paul likened our life’s journey to a race—a marathon. It is exhausting. There are burdens we carry that weigh us down. There are sins that would trip us up. There are many challenges and obstacles, even life-changing events that stop us in our tracks. But what does God’s Word say? Run on. Do not be deterred or distracted, daunted or discouraged. Run on and keep running.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2) Running a marathon requires patience, endurance, sacrifice and dedication. Mile after mile, the runner pushes on to the finish line. Jesus crossed that finish line before us. He endured the shame. He bore the sins of the world on His shoulders. He gave His life on the cross and at the finish line, he cried, “It is finished!” Finally, He sat down at the right hand of the Father, crowned with glory and honor, having won the victory over sin and death. Jesus, the creator, the perfecter (the one who brought it to a conclusion) and sustainer of our faith has set the example for us in running the race of life’s journey to the glory of God.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Corinthians 9:24) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16) When we run our life’s race to His glory, overcoming the obstacles and challenges and all that Satan would throw in our path, there will be a winner’s crown waiting for us at the end, as well.
You may be knocked down—pick yourself up and keep going. You may be hindered in going forward by the obstacles along the way—persevere. Satan may throw everything he has at you—look to Jesus for His help. There is cloud of witnesses cheering you on, spectators who are influenced by your life—run on to victory!
Don’t stop—just keep running the race.