Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Race Master's Run

As I read my daughter's blogs about their families' activities, getting the kids to soccer and such like, I can imagine the feeling that the kids have as their parents cheer them on from the sidelines. Reflecting on this, I was reminded about the film, "Chariots of Fire", that I saw years ago.

It centered upon the character of Christian runner and missionary Eric Liddell, portrayed in his Olympic Game run in 1924. The expression of joy and the words of testimony attested to him struck me with a very encouraging challenge. As he ran, there was a joy that broke out on his face, and he responded to a question about it, "God made me fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure." I have not been able to remove that image. It seems to come back to my mind every time my life enters that portion of my own race when I must again realize what, when, how, and why I am running. It seems to come in order to give me the extra burst I need when my stamina begins to wane from the press of the race.

How many children live to see their lives bring a look of joy on the face of a parent? How much more as His children should we strive every moment, with every action gifted by the Father, to bring pleasure to His heart. The Scriptures give a picture: "...let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross...: Hebrews 12:1-2. Read Philippians 3:13-14 and I Corinthians 9:24-27 for a little extra on the subject. And here is my own poetic rendering on the subject:

My body is tired, my legs numbed in their piston-like push,

But on I plunge toward the goal set forth ahead.

The press close on my heels goads me ever forward,

Striving as one possessed, to claim the sought-for prize.

My eyes are tempted to turn and see behind,

But my mind reminds me to turn aside is to veer off course,

And thus lose ground to that,

Often unknown competitor whose breath I can almost feel,

Whose labored gasps I hear as he seeks to claim my focus.

When I feel as though I can endure no more,

And my strength draining the last dregs of energy from my cup,

Another Presence pulls beside, and then a little ahead,

Where He paces effortlessly,

A rhymn that flows unbroken, within my sight.

My mind and body respond with a new resolve,

Discovering His pace,

Allowed to rest my spirit in strong embrace.

Slowly at first, I grasp the meaning of this "race Master's" run.

It is not for His victory but mine, for His is already won.

My lungs about to burst with the depth of exhalation,

I am suddenly filled with the delight of His heart,

And running with renewed "joy of the journey"

I throw back my head, stretch forward my chest,

And utter the divine laughter of one who has seen God run!

In the running of your race today, I pray you see Him run, too! Be encouraged, runner!

No comments: