I’m a runner. Ok, so I’m kind of a wanna-be-runner, and I know this because of time spent in running stores. I recently bought a new pair of running shoes, and while checking out the various options, I asked the gentlemen assisting me to show me the best pair he had available. He walked into the next aisle, picked up a pair shoes and said, “These.” Imagine angelic light shining down on the pair of shoes because that’s exactly what it was like. They were heavenly.
After admiring the marvelous shoes, he asked me, “How many miles do you get in during the week?” I told him. And that’s when he put down the golden shoes. The light retracted and he said, “Let’s look over in this aisle.”
It’s at that point I felt the need to throw out there one of my greatest accomplishments: “I ran a marathon once.” And I said it with no reason to say it. Maybe a part of me was figuring he would say, “What?! You’re amazing. How? When? Where?” And then he’d run back and grab the heavenly shoes. But he didn’t. He just smiled.
Ridiculously Awesome End Goal
Regardless of whether or not I’m a “real” runner, I enjoy running. Part of the reason I enjoy it is because I’m competitive. If I’m going to be honest, I’m extremely and ridiculously competitive. My son told me a while back how fast he could run a mile. Naturally, we immediately went outside for a race…and I won. The problem was that I barely won. Up until that point, I had been able to clean up shop when playing Chutes and Ladders and basketball games. Of course, my son wanted to race again.
And that’s when it happened. He beat me. He beat me fair and square. I told him we were going to do it again. And he beat me…again. He embraced the win like nothing I’ve ever seen. He then wanted to have a competition in about ten different physical activities. And I jumped right in!
After discovering his own love for running, my son decided to join a cross country team. When I picked him up from his first practice, I asked him how it went. While wiping his forehead, he said, “It was the in-tensest, super hardest and most ridiculously awesome thing I’ve ever done in my whole, entire life.”
That was it. That’s totally it. Beyond any competition, his description of practice is exactly why I love to run. It is so hard, but it’s also so rewarding. There’s an end goal that must be achieved and meeting that end goal is “ridiculously awesome.”
Our Race in Him
I was studying Colossians a few months back and while preparing for our women’s Bible study, Colossians 2:6-7 stood out to me in a rather profound way:
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
I spent the better part of three years caring for my mom who had a very rare brain disease. She went home to Jesus this last spring, but the emotions from the more challenging days are still quite raw. I remember one challenging day in particular that included a visit to her doctor.
While I sat in the waiting room feeding her, I watched with deep sorrow as she could barely swallow the soft food. My mom, however, did not give up easily. She mustered every bit of strength she could to do what needed to be done (my fierceness didn’t come from nowhere). But each time I lifted a bit of food to her mouth and heard her moan with frustration, I screamed inside: “Relieve her, God!” And then the verse in Colossians came to mind.
We are in Him. Several asked during the course of my mother’s illness if there were any medications available to counteract the disease. There were not. But there was always Grace, and always in abundance. We walk in Him through paths that are utterly confusing and painful, and we walk in Him faithfully in the face of circumstances that make us question our faith. We’re not beside him or behind him, but we are in Him. That’s the greatest remedy through the valleys we walk through in this life. I’m never left alone with my tears—so thanksgiving abounding through tears. My mom was never without Him in her suffering—so thanksgiving through the pain.
And walk. Don’t forget to walk. We’re called to continue to move forward, and as a wanna-be-runner, I get it. I get that in a race you never quit the course (especially if racing a son), I get that you keep moving forward even if it means spurts of walking, skipping, hopping—however you get to the end, you keep moving forward. The truth of the gospel is not only for our time of conversion, it is there for us while we grow, wrestle, and move forward through this life—every step of the way. It’s the grace of Jesus that enables us to continue to move forward. Like running a race, moving forward through a difficult journey in life can be intense and trying, but what we’re promised in the end is “ridiculously awesome.”
The God of grace who enables us to be established in the faith also gives us the grace needed to walk in Him. It’s the same grace that enabled me to lift food to mom’s mouth and help carry her to bed. It’s the same grace that gave her the perseverance to swallow when she could, and the same beautiful grace that gave her the strength to press on until the end when she opened her eyes and saw Jesus.
Walk on. Move forward with the confidence that God will accomplish His perfect will during the course that He has already paved out for you. And give thanks along the way because you don’t have to run the course alone.
You’re racing in Him.
Katie is wife to Chris, a PCA pastor at Trinity church in Kirkwood, MO, and together they have three children, Ella, J-Rod, and Lily. A former writing teacher, Katie now spends her time writing, teaching piano, and leading women’s Bible studies. She serves on the board of Covenant College, where she graduated with a BA in English Education, and enjoys serving in her church’s music and women’s ministry. For more information, as well as additional blog entries, you can visit her website at www.katiepolski.com