The Race Set Before Us

By Marla Helseth

I recently had the privilege of doing a “fun run” with our Agape Christi Cross Country team and even though I ended up running the fastest mile I’ve run in a long time, just about the entire team still smoked me! I’m one of those runners who actually loves running, so when coach Brett Toney asked me to join as a parent runner, I didn’t hesitate. It was a pretty, but overcast run through a neighborhood near the school. It was only a mile and a half, but because of my faster than normal pace, there were a few times when I wanted to quit; and it’s those moments that remind me of the truth that running a physical race has parallels to running the race that God has given us. Here are a few that come to mind: 

  • Terrain — with running, sometimes the terrain is a smooth asphalt road and in life, there are blessed times when the Lord gives us the same. Rejoice when the road is smooth. 
  • A Partner — watching some of the practices of our Cross Country team, I noticed boys and girls running next to their friends; but at times, because of the terrain or the speed difference, they would get separated and students would run alone for a time. You are blessed if you have a Jonathan in life as David did, but there are times when we’re more like Paul — alone, and having to run the race set before us only believing that God sees. 
  • Perseverance — while running the Chicago Marathon in 2010, as I came around a curve toward the end of the race, I noticed very bright stars swirling above the spectators and began to feel like I was about to lose my lunch. I was badly dehydrated. But in the moments when my vision cleared, I could see the finish line! That was all I needed to keep running. We need perseverance to run the Christian life too, because there truly is a finish; there is a rest and Jesus is waiting with the words, “Well done…” Let His Word, the Scriptures, push you through trials and causes you to persevere. 

Congratulations to all our student runners of the Agape Christi Cross Country team and to Coach Brett Toney! It’s hard to set your face like flint when you’re always looking down at your shoes, so good job, students, for not quitting and for growing in running skill and Christian virtue!