run the race
It’s been a little over 3 years, but in one week, I will re-enter the road race scene. I’m not a serious competitor; I simply try to outdo myself, and that is the beauty of the sport of running.
I have recently attended several track meets that my son competed in, and I am amazed at the athleticism that I witness on the track and in the field. There are some athletes who obviously “beat their bodies into submission!” I am often astounded by the speed and strength of the runners who whiz by me as I stand trackside offering up shouts of encouragement to them and my son.
I’m wondering what kinds of things you do when witnessing a sporting event on tv or in person? Do you yell at the players as though they can hear you? Do you wear your team colors and decorate your vehicle with the team logo? Have you ever worn an afro wig or body paint in team colors? Can you be found dancing when there’s a touchdown scored in the Superbowl?
I find it crazy the way we onlookers identify ourselves with a team to such a degree as saying, “we won!” We didn’t win. The players who sweated out every advancement in the game did the winning. We did the watching, the witnessing.
To witness is to see something happening. The Bible offers a cool perspective on the multitudes who are currently witnessing our run in the race of life: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The great cloud of witnesses is explained in Hebrews chapter 11, also known as the Hall of Faith. There, in the sacred text, are listed the names and accounts of those who have already completed the amazing race of faith. Names such as Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Rahab are among others who remain nameless but their feats done in faith are forever remembered.
Here’s my question: what are these champions of the faith doing right now? Do they see us in the race of life? Are they shouting at us to run strong even though they know we cannot hear them? Are they encouraging us with all that is within them because they know that Jesus is our very great reward, and now that they see Him in all of His glory, they want us to run hard after the goal?
I only ask because I once was granted access in the spirit to see a stadium-like setting in heaven. I couldn’t see a throne, but I could hear the loudest roar imaginable. You know how it sounds when tens of thousands are shouting at one time? It was like that. I knew that it was a heavenly sound, but I am unsure of the source. Was it the roar of the Lion of Judah? Maybe. But since I saw the faceless multitudes in the stadium, I have to believe that they were the producers of the noise. It was loud, and it was exciting! You know what I think was happening? I think it was the great cloud of witnesses cheering wildly. If individual voices could have been detected, I may have heard things like, “Run, Renee! You can do it!” “Go! Jesus is so worth it! Waste all that you have on HIM! Goooo!” “Run, Run, Run! Go faster! Your reward awaits you at the finish line!”
I may one day have greater understanding about the vision I experienced years ago. But for now, I am allowing the truth of God’s Word and the sound that remains in my memory to motivate me. We truly are in the amazing race of faith. Finish strong, my friend. Like the track coach says, don’t leave anything left over for when you cross the finish line. Give it all that you have!