Monday, April 20, 2015

No matter the course, DYB

Today is the 119th running of the Boston Marathon.  I will not be there :) Runners have always had to qualify with an incredibly fast time to run Boston.  Twice I made that time by the skin of my teeth.  But that bar has been raised impossibly higher.  One must run now even faster than the qualifying time, faster now by more than a full minute to achieve a spot in this elite competion, which according to Matthew Futterman in the Wall Street Journal, is like being invited to "the table of cool kids in the eighth grade cafeteria."

I smiled this morning at the thought of a marathon.  With the exception of a few slow attempts, I have not been able to run at all in the past eighteen months since I ran the Chicago marathon with an already emerging tendinitis.  Recently, one of our daughters asked me, "Aren't you sorry you went ahead and ran it?"

No darling, not at all.

The marathon itself is not difficult.  It is the fun part.  The hardest part of any marathon is not the weather or that insurmountable hill in the middle of the course or even the blister that emerges at mile six of the race.  The hard part of any marathon is the months and months of training in the cold and rain and early mornings when it would be a lot nicer to stay inside with a cup of coffee.  The hard part is when you are out there alone and hurting and no one is on the sidelines cheering you on and handing you Gatorade.  I know that painful solitude.

If you have read this blog for any time at all, you know that my decade-long experience in marathoning taught me things far deeper than running itself.  At every point, God met me -- in pain and sweat and reluctance and even in secret joys.  As it says in Eccleiastes 9.11, "the race is not to the swift."  The point is not speed or even accomplishment, but a life redeemed by God --no matter how God uses you.

In one marathon, I saw a little boy proudly holding up a sign, "Win, Dad, win."  I chuckled, because most likely, winning for that daddy would mean simply crossing the finish line.

When our daughters were young, we used to emphasize that more important than being the best is DYB -- doing your best.  You might not be able to be the first to cross the finish line, but you can ALWAYS do your best.  No matter the course, DYB.

Fulfill your ministry, right where you are.  A bike-racing friend once confided to me, "We came to the point that we realized that we did not have to win the race to bring God glory."

Do everything you can to make the most of the race that God has set before you.  That course may change from day to day, and in some cases even hour by hour, the place and purposes of God's own choosing.

God calls us to be faithful,
     no matter the course
         He has set before you today.

Therefore, since we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside
every weight and sin
which clings so closely,
and let us run
        with perseverance
the race that is set before us,
   looking to Jesus...

               Hebrews 12. 1-2

Let us run, my friend.

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