In the midst of preparing our next post on Biblical inerrancy and inspiration, I have been sidelined with assignments and a piece of a massive project with a quick deadline that I’m honoured to be a part of (details to come).
I’ve also been training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which is tomorrow (Sunday, Oct 18).
This is something like my 10th marathon (11th? Not sure.) And it never gets old. The feeling the night before a major marathon is not easy to describe. I’m always nervous. I never sleep well. I somehow always think somewhere in the back of my mind that this, of all the marathons I have run, will be the one I cannot finish, where I come up short.
Yet, I also know it’s nonsense. None of these thoughts matter past the moment where my warm-up clothes are given to the race volunteers and I take my place in the start chute. My mind knows it must now focus on the very long 4 hours that are about to start my journey to that finish line.
And, hopefully, at the end – cookies.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” It’s a crazy simple idea, Paul basically says that no matter what happened, he just kept going.
In my marathons, I’ve had extreme cold and extreme heat. I’ve dehydrated, and needed to pee every 10 minutes. I’ve tripped in potholes, been tripped up by other running feet (and my own). I’ve had uphills, downhills, side slopes, and wind. Oh, and rain. And rain. And RAIN.
But the sight of that finish line, when you first hear the crowd that you know lines the end of this self-inflicted madness of muscle spasm and spastic joy, simply proves every chicle true. It is not a feeling that can be described.
The journey of faith, like every marathon, has a goal. The potholes and wind of doubt are everywhere. Others let us down during our path of spiritual athleticism – they deceive, they pretend to know more than they do. They take advantage. Our intellect battles our faith. Our skepticism spreads like a dark cloud over our hope in what might be true.
And there will be moments during your spiritual run where those betrayals and doubts cut deep, and make it seem that the journey is no longer worth running.
In those moments, just remember: it’s not their race. They’re a pothole. They’re the wind.
This is your race. And at the end of your’s, may there be cookies.