Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
So, I've had this thing I've been fixated on in my mind ever since the Olympics. If you've watched the ladies marathon, you might recall it. Constantina Tomescu-Dita from Romania won the race. But, it wasn't even close. About half way through the marathon, she bolted from the pack. She built a 15 second lead, and the announcers started in. "This is a mistake. She'll never sustain the lead. She is known for this tactic. She'll burn out...." Then, as she built a 45 second lead, it became even more emphatic from the announcers, "She can't maintain 5:12 miles. She will burn out. This is so sad..." But then came the change. With about 2 miles to go, and a commanding lead to almost a full minute, the tone changed. "She's amazing. As soon as she sees the stadium, she'll get that adrenaline rush. She actually won this race in 2003 with this same tactic. She's making the most of her Olympic dream..." Silly announcers.
Here's my thoughts. More for me, but soak it up if it's about you too. If she had a pair of headphones on--listening to the marathon being announced, would Constantina have kept going...or slowed down and followed the "normal race plan". Her eyes were fixated on seeing the stadium. Nothing less than all she had. Are my eyes fixated on the Heavenly Stadium. Do I run with abandonment? Or do I listen to the announcers in my head?
When she entered the stadium, the place erupted. She took her final lap to the finish with no other competitors even in the stadium. Her final lap was her victory lap. How sweet will it be when we enter the kingdom of heaven, to the cheers of the angels and cross the finish line---straight into the arms of our savior. (That's a line stolen from my pastor...who rocks). I want to run.
Now, here's my stretch point. Again, it's for me, but soak it up if it's you too. Am I the announcer in someone else's ear? I am so good at that. And I wish I weren't. I want to be more like the crowd in the stadium, cheering other runners on.
I want to be more like my wife. Laura is an encourager of others. She is the person that would stand beside the road all afternoon just to shout a little encouragement to someone struggling in the race. And, she runs her own races so well. Without listening to her announcers---which by the way, 9 times out of 10 is me. (Uggh. I'll work on that.) She has fixed her eyes on the heavenly prize. And for that, she will go down in my Jesus-Olympics as one of the greats. Go Laura!