Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And those standing along the way

This Sunday is the marathon.  Training is done.  This is a test for which one cannot cram.

I have a choice this week.  I can open the door to anxiety and let DREAD (in capital letters) take up residence in my heart, along with its twin cousins Panic and Doubt.  They are all too willing to wrap themselves around me like a straitjacket, tie me up and weigh me down, growing ever heavier as the day approaches.

Or I can don a mantle of praise.  When my aim is to bring God glory, it is a win-win situation, no matter what happens.  

What makes a marathon a marathon is a degree of uncertainty.  And in my experience, it is impossible to pinpoint that pothole -- a little wrinkle in my sock, a day too hot, too rainy or cold, cramping legs, heading out too fast at the start, or even keeping a pace that is not my own. 

There is that which weighs down, but there is also that which builds up, things that stick along the way.  Unlike my training runs on lonely paths and deserted streets, the marathon route is lined with people.  They are not just spectators, but participants in a different way.  They don't just stand there watching complacently, but encourage those they don't even know.  I know the deep value of these cheering strangers who render tender words of encouragement to the weary along the way. 

A couple of weeks ago, I took two of our grandkids to a city park where there was a high school cross country race taking place.  The children had never seen something like this before.  They embraced it with great excitement.  Two year old Howie kept shouting out, "Go, boys, go!"  And sweet Maggie stood under a tree, clapping for every girl that ran past her, no matter first or last.

And may I remember long after this race, the kindnesses of strangers that keep me running.  Let those words bear fruit.  And may I be as generous as this tiny child, blessing others in word and deed, those who are on my path today.

The Lord GOD has given me
    the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know
    how to sustain with a word
              him who is weary.

                              Isaiah 50.4

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