Running Over Mountains
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. I Corinthians 9:24-27
I love running analogies! As a runner (I think I can say that), I especially resonate with a few of the scriptures that tie running or other sports to living our faith. The scripture above is definitely one of my favorites.
From yesterday’s post, you’ll remember that I ran over 20 miles on Saturday morning. I ran the Perkiomen Trail from Green Lane to Oaks, and I finished up my run at the parking lot by Pawlings Road. If you’re not familiar with the trail, there is a “mountain” in the middle of the trail. Seriously, Spring Mountain (our local ski “resort”) is 7.5 miles south of Green Lane. Skiers in our area joke around that it should be called Spring Bump, because it’s not that big compared to some of the ski mountains just an hour or two away in the Poconos. But I can tell you, that whether it’s a bump, a hill, or a mountain, it’s not easy to run up Spring Mountain. But it is possible. I did it Saturday in the middle of my long run.
How did I do it? That’s a good question. First, I knew it was coming. I’ve run every part of this trail several times. I knew that this obstacle was inevitable. Second, I stayed focused on one step at a time. I literally shortened by stride, put my head down, and concentrated on the next step. Third, I remembered that there was more to come. I still had 13 miles to run. I couldn’t let my mind and body give in now. Fourth, I thought about the prize waiting for me at the end. Leanne was scheduled to pick me up at 10 AM. I had to keep going in order to reach my bride. Finally, I remembered that this run was necessary to prepare me for my upcoming marathon. How would I survive the marathon if I gave in now.
I think Paul’s running analogy is so appropriate to life (and ties into my running experience this weekend). First, Paul talks about the importance of going into strict training. I think this means studying God’s word and finding how it applies to our lives. Second, Paul seems to point to the necessity for strategy in living out our faith. Living our faith aimlessly isn’t fruitful. Third, Paul realized that more was expected of him. Training wasn’t the end, there was more to come. There was more preaching and sharing that lied ahead. Fourth, Paul clearly had the end in mind as he trained to share his faith with others. He clearly pursued that through his life. And finally, he knew it would be hard, he knew it would take effort and hard work, and he kept going.
This speaks to me. I want to run the race of life in such a way that honors God and brings Him glory.
As for my running, my body is still recovering from Saturday, but I’m happy to say that I got back to running this morning. Just a few more weeks until the marathon!
How’s your training going? What are you doing to prepare for “the race”?