I have to admit, I love sports! My husband and I coached, for many years, peewee football and middle school football; he was the head coach and I coached the receivers as well as being the personal team trainer. I also enjoy watching other spectator sports, but the one that I want to focus on today is track and field. Our youngest daughter participates in this sport; she runs the four by one-hundred, the one hundred meter, and she does both one hundred meter hurdles and shuttle hurdles.
The other day the team had their preliminaries and since my daughter missed track last year because of our move, I knew that she was a bundle of nerves. There were about six other teams competing, and the competition looked tough. My daughter’s last event was the shuttle hurdles, and if you don’t know what they are (which I didn’t at the time) it is where there are 5-6 lanes and each lane has ten hurdles placed among 100 meters, and each team has 4 members poised by two on each end of their lanes; once one teammate clears their ten hurdles the next teammate comes back in the opposite direction, and so on until all team members have cleared their set. *Whew*
Because this was a new event for me, I had seen my daughter clear hurdles pretty well before, and because it had been almost two years since she had competed, I was a nervous wreck! We had prayed over her track shoes the night before, and I had prayed for her whole team during the day, but still…the mom in me was shaking. I almost couldn’t watch. I sat on the bleacher and put my head down, handing the camera to my husband. The teams lined up, and my daughter was behind the starter, which meant that she had the third leg; the gun sounded and the starter took off. She jumped the first hurdle, and this happened in slow motion, she clipped the hurdle and fell almost face down to the ground. I could only hear the loud gasp from the crowd, and being at the top of the bleachers my gaze immediately went to my daughter; she was standing stock still with her hands cupped over most of her face, she looked petrified! For me, there is nothing worse than seeing someone get hurt in sports, especially a child and I felt pain for both the girl who fell and my daughter.
Just then…something amazing happened. Something that shocked me a taught me and my “spiritual” self a valuable lesson! That young lady who took the awful spill over the hurdle was obviously in pain, BUT, she rolled over. She got up. She righted the hurdle. She jumped over the hurdle. And she finished the race! I was awed by her in that moment; you have to imagine that there were more than 300 spectators, her peers and many parents, and the strength (and strength of character) that it took to get up and continue was astounding.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God – Hebrews 12:1-2.
This is what God spoke to me the night after that race. He reminded me that although there will be many obstacles for us, as we pursue holiness in Him, and we may stumble or fall and even though many people may be watching us when we do; that we have to look to Him…lay the weight aside and get up and continue the race.
Let me tell you about another girl who was in the same race; I had been watching her from the moment that I arrived at the meet, and I even pointed her out to my sons. She was tall with extremely long legs, and I watched her practice the hurdles for about a full hour. Her form was flawless, her lead leg was straight and she cleared the hurdles each time unfailingly. I was intimidated by her for our team lol. She was the 2nd leg of this race for her team, and I figured that she would be very strong; she was on maybe the fifth hurdle when she clipped it and fell very hard. Again the crowd gasped, and I was particularly shocked since I had been watching her practice. However, unlike the young lady on our team, this girl wailed in pain and had to be carried off of the track. She could not finish. Being a sports trainer, I couldn’t tell whether she was actually hurt, or if her pride was wounded by falling. I just saw that she couldn’t finish, so her team was out.
Isn’t that like some of us? At the first sign of trouble, struggle or pain we are ready to quit? I know I’ve been there! I remember a snippet from the theme song of “Smokey and the Bandit”, it goes, “we’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there…”, and that is so true. There is much that we need to do; people are hungry for the Word of God, but we’ve gotten hurt and are too wounded to feed them. People are seeking righteousness but we are too filled with pride to help them. We may have tripped over an obstacle and are either too pridefully wounded or ashamed to get back up, but there is a reward for finishing the race!
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint – Isaiah 40:31.
You may be wondering how the race ended. Well two things happened after such an awful start:
- My daughter, when her turn came, was still shaking with nervousness but she cleared all ten hurdles effortlessly to very loud cheers from the opposing teams; however they were not louder than her family’s. Her team came in 3rd out of 6th.
- Her teammate? Well, not only did she finish that race, after she had her arm bandaged from her wrist to past her elbow, she continued the meet, actually coming in third in the 4×400! Now, that’s what I call finishing the race!
So I am going to get up, dust myself off, lick my pitiful wounds and continue doing what God called me to do, and if you can relate to this off-beat blog in any way, I urge you to do the same. God bless you!