Whoa, whoa, whoa, plop…
Have you ever had one of those kinds of lives where it seems you are forever stuck in the awkwardness of youth? You know the years that no matter how hard you wanted it not to be, clumsiness and tripping were your middle name. The years where your feet outgrew your head. The years that proportionally the top half grew while the bottom half just stagnated.
I remember them all too well unfortunately. I still struggle with these unwanted traits.
What I’m really talking about is the inner man though. The one supposedly running a race and all you can do is trip on your shoe laces. You get up and you run a little bit and bam, down you go. You’re tripped up and rolling head over heels unable to stop forward motion.
If you are like me, you always are puzzled by it.
One minute you’re running along just fine, breathing is good, the muscles are burning a little, the adrenaline is pumping and you are eyeing that finish line feeling pretty good about yourself.
The next thing you know you are on the ground looking up and wondering what on earth happened to me.
I call it a semi catatonic state. I wake up one day and I’m so far off the mark it is not funny.
As the feeling begins to flow back into your body you become increasingly aware of every joint, every nerve, every muscle and every pain. You wonder; am I really going to get up this time?
Maybe I should just lay here and pretend I’m dead or something. That would be far less embarrassing than facing the “great cloud of witnesses”
Then you hear something and turning your head slightly you look up into the face of a presumed friend, who is smiling at you, offering a cool drink of water. At first you are relieved, someone cares someone is paying attention. For a while you are content and only half listen to the meaningless chatter above you.
Until something feels dreadfully wrong. Darkness creeps in around you and you feel claustrophobic and you begin to panic. You try to cry out but can’t squeak anything past trembling lips.
Someone is telling you to give up, there’s no hope. No one cares for you. You screwed up too much. Your life is pointless and meaningless. Like a bad elephant parade, round and round in your head thoughts stumble and tumble until in sheer exhaustion you scream out for Jesus to help you!
At first this darkness presses in closer and the taunts become real, you’re no good, God doesn’t love you you’re a fake a fraud a phony.
Just about the time you try to sit up to take your shoes off in total defeat. You hear a shout and thump. Whomp, whomp like a sonic boom and dazzling light on display, you look up and in shocked silence Jesus is kneeling before you.
Washing your wounds, drying the tears you had no idea you were crying. All the while He is singing you a song of love of compassion.
Before you know it all the sorrow and all the pain you felt are gone and in its place is joy that goes deep down in your spirit and rest there in comforting enveloping waves.
Taking a deep breath and grabbing a hold to that beautiful nail scarred hand, you stand up.
Popping joints, stretching muscles, breathing in/out, in/out. You begin to run again. For a little while you can see Jesus running with you and your confidence soars. Then in happy bliss one day you realize He’s not where you can see Him. So you begin to panic a little bit until you feel His presence surround you and encouraging you to keep running.
With His words of cheer ringing in your heart.
Press for the mark child, don’t give up I’m here with you all the way! I’ve won this race, stay close to me. I will lead you past the holes and the ruts. I will never leave you child, keep running, you’re doing good.
In reflection most of us go through many such days and years even. We get complacent to the point we don’t realize that the ones running the race beside us are the ones trying to take us out. Somewhere along the edges of reality we hear the taunts and we severely under estimate the consequences of not paying attention.
If you think your enemy is complacent you better think again. He is on a mission that he hopes will end in your ultimate demise.
So brothers and sisters running this race with me, stay strong and alert. The minute you fall, and you will, get up quickly and know who’s your caregiver.
Just on a final note; the word “press” for the mark in these verses means… to suffer persecution.
This race is not easy, nor is it uneventful, but it’s worth running.
Run that you might win Christ!
I’m hid with Christ!