I ran track when I was in high school. It was not something I wanted to do. My football coach made me. He was not the sort of person that you negotiated with.
I was a sprinter. I ran the first leg of the sprint relay and the one-hundred-meter dash. I never understood why anyone would ever willingly run any further. And the guys I thought were the strangest were those who ran the four-hundred-meter dash. Who in their right mind would run that hard a race?
At one track meet, my coach walked up and told me even though I had never run the four-hundred-meter dash, I had to fill in for the athlete that was too sick to leave the field house. I was not a happy camper but again, my high school coaches weren’t the sorts of people you negotiated with.
When they fired the starting pistol, I flew down the track just like I did for the one-hundred-meter dash. It was incredible. I was so far ahead of everyone else; I knew winning the race was going to be as easy as a walk in the park.
By the time I hit the three-hundred-meter mark, things had changed. I knew I was in trouble. My lungs were on fire, my legs felt like lead, and all my energy had been used up. It was horrible.
To make matters even worse, everyone else passed me by like I was standing still. And while they kicked into overdrive and sprinted towards the finish line, I was just praying I made it to the finish line.
That was the first and last time my coach ever told me to run anything over one-hundred meters. Served him right and I learned a valuable lesson.
Life cannot be approached like it is a sprint. Life is a marathon. Living a full life is a day-in-day-out sort of experience where we continually put one foot in front of another and keep moving forward. It is like that for everything of value.
Being a Christian is a marathon. Living with the constraints of the coronavirus is a marathon. Raising children is a marathon. Being a true friend is a marathon. I would even say being married is a marathon but then I’d have to explain what I meant to Shannon and there is too much room for misunderstanding and needless violence, so I will leave marriage alone.
In order to be the people God intends us to be, we must understand that life is a marathon and that we are called to be patient.
When Paul lists the attributes of a loving, faithful Christian, he says: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
The first attribute of love is patience. That says it all.
So be patient with life, family, circumstances, friends, and even God. That’s what it means to live in the real world.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me be patient, wise, and kind. Let me draw closer to you each day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
In high school, when I ran my one and only four-hundred meter dash, if I had been patient and paced myself, the results may have been dramatically different. But we will never know because it will be a cold day in (you know where) before I run that race again.
Just for the record, I considered being forced to run track as a punishment for all my sins. I still think the same today.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.