Sweating the Race

by | May 18, 2010 | Focus, Trials

Have you ever been shy, scared or insecure? All these emotions used to keep me at the back of the line in gym class. At fourteen, my heart anguished. Not because of my broken English, or the fact I still carried the horror of showing up for gym class in women’s long underwear rather than sporty gym shorts (we never knew what shorts were in Bolivia). Nor was it the giggles of girls huddled a few feet from me. Not even the fact that I struggled to understand my teacher’s instructions.

What gripped my heart most with fear was the distance I’d have to run between the starting point and the next runner where I’d hand off the baton in the relay races. For most, the distance was short, but for me, it ran the length of the world. All eyes would be on me. Dreadful thoughts would rumble like thunder. What if I should stumble or drop the baton? What if I were to fall or cause my team to lag far behind? Such visions would torment me just before every race began.

Have you ever felt that way? One more stretch of life is before you, and you wonder if you’ll make it. Everyone is watching, observing your performance. Ahead is a journey, painfully foreign to you. Sweat pours out and you ask, “Will I make it one more step? Can I?” That’s when God makes an announcement only for your ears to hear. “Let me run by your side!”

With the firmness of His Word, He will whisper confidence to begin the race. With His grace, He will lift your burden to lighten the load. With His promises, He will cheer you on. With His mighty hand, He will scoop you up when you stumble. Should fatigue run you dry, His strength will pour renewed hope. If doubt flickers through, His lips will speak reassurance to build your faith. When anguish and pain sear and burn, His compassion will soothe and bring calmness to your soul.

I wish I’d known back then what I know now; that no matter how long the distance, how arduous the journey, or how threatening the obstacles, my legs don’t need to tremble and my heart doesn’t need to race wildly prior to the races of life. And most of all, never, ever should I allow fear to accompany me because those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I’ve run other kinds of races since then – adjustments because of my blindness, healing from emotional pain, dealing with sorrow. Each time, I found the secret: Looking upward rather than at the track ahead fuels my spirit with renewed energy and strength drawn from His Word. And then that moment comes, when panting, drained and fatigued, we lift our arm and release the baton. We give it to the Lord. His outstretched hand is waiting, His heart is longing, and His power… more than capable to finish the race.

Janet Eckles jeckles@cfl.rr.com http://www.janetperezeckles.com/

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Sweating the Race