“I Ran the Marathon But You Made it Worth It!” by Lynda Liverpool
Singles Voice – by Lynda Liverpool
“I Ran the Marathon But You Made it Worth It!”
This is what Vanessa M. told her husband after she finally achieved her goal of running the New York Marathon on Nov 3, 2013. Vanessa, my new friend and leader of the Norristown Latinas-in-Motion running group, said it had been a long-time dream of hers to run the New York City Marathon. However, for the last few years her attempts were thwarted for one reason or the other. One year she wasn’t selected, another year she became pregnant, and when she was selected the race was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy. Finally, this year everything came together.
But as Vanessa and I ran in Norristown one Saturday morning, she shared that this race was much more than accomplishing the 26.2 mile physical feat of running through the five New York boroughs. What made the experience amazing was the support and encouragement of friends and loved ones as she trained and actually ran the race.
The stories she shared were numerous, such as how her brother and husband met her at mile 8 of the race route. They exchanged hugs and encouraged her to keep running and pressing for her goal. Vanessa said that “mid-way” support actually gave her the boost she needed for the long haul ahead of her. She was also overwhelmed when her childhood friend, a mother of 4 young children, came all the way from Hackensack, N,J. to New York to give her hug along the way. Then at mile 21, as exhaustion is seriously kicking in and she is battling a tightening hamstring muscle in her leg, she looks up on a huge screen and sees her husband sending her a personal word of encouragement for going after her dream. At that point she was just bowled over and started yelling to the people around her “that’s my husband, that’s my husband”. Random strangers too started cheering and encouraging her.
Hearing Vanessa’s experience helped me to realize the powerful impact of having others’ support as we seek to live for Christ. The apostle Paul likened our Christian life as a race we must all run to win the prize of the eternal crown we will receive after we die (1 Cor. 9:24-27). And to run this race we must train, we must discipline our bodies, we must go through hardships, but keep pressing on.
As we seek that goal of finishing our lives in Christ well – living a sacrificed life that honors and points others to Him – we too can have the love, encouragement, support of others around us to help to make the journey a bit more bearable. There are those who mourn when we mourn and rejoice when we rejoice. Those who we can cry with us through the challenges, press on with us through the difficulties, and celebrate with us in the victories.
And our supporters come in so many forms. It can be encouraging word or prayer of a brother or sister in Christ as we are going through a difficulty. It can be that unexpected meal that someone brings or shares with us. It can be the fellowship that comes from going to movies with other saints. It can be the joy that comes from serving with our ministry group comes and seeing others blessed as we minister to them. The examples are countless.
However, our biggest Supporter is the One who is with us in every single aspect of our lives, Jesus. We may not see Him physically but we experience His presence in countless ways, such as through the unexplainable joy He can put in our hearts, the peace in the midst of the storm, the comfort during times of trial, His strength when we feel we can’t go on, His wisdom for that anxiety we face, His direction for every aspect of our lives. He has promised to never leave us or forsakes us. (Heb 13:5)
Vanessa said one of the things that gave her the strength to keep pressing on as she ran her race was a verse given to her by a dear, godly friend “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. (2 Tim 4:7)
And we too are to keep pressing on. Not only will we get a crown of righteousness which the Lord has laid up for us, but we will finally get to see face-to-face the Friend who has been with us every step of the way, our King, our Lord, Our Savior, Jesus Christ.