Reaching Out

Let Us Run the Race That Is Set Before Us – Part II

While standing on the sidewalk at 9th and Rock Street on March 5 and watching the Little Rock marathoners trot by, I heard the sounds of people at a refreshment station and cheers of a young couple with a small child a little way behind me. They showed up to watch the runners and cheer them on. I could hear them clap and cheer on the runners: “Good job! You got this! You’re killing it! Good pace! You’re on your way! You can do it! Way to go! Great costume! I love your hat! Yay! Right on!”

I thought about moving a little farther away where it was a little quieter, but they were such an encouragement to me as well as the runners, I stayed within earshot of their cheers.

After the runners passed by, the couple left with their child. They came to cheer on total strangers – 7,000 of them, and then they left, having inspired many souls to do their best, striving to finish the race that was set before them. Perhaps they were really angels.
Think how it must have encouraged their child. We can just see them cheering on their child as he/she grows up and faces real life challenges: “Good job! We know you can do it! Way to go!”

That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” Acts 9:31

Every person we meet is facing a life challenge; it may be a lack of finances, failing health, broken relationships, loneliness, despair, or and even the very purpose of life itself. They too are in a race, a race for life – a life filled with love and adventure, of meaning and purpose, a life well lived. But they (and we too) are confronted with obstacles – formidable obstacles beyond their control.

That’s where we too can be encouragers, to cheer them on and bestow them with courage (EN-COURAGE). And the most effective and powerful encouragement is not merely to encourage them to strive harder (because often that is insufficient), but to seek the Lord, His mercy, and His strength. We have a powerful ally that was absent with the marathon cheerleaders – it is the Holy Spirit, who is here to encourage, comfort, guide, and direct us on our life journey.

So our encouragement can be from the Lord and to the Lord:

· “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

· “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

· “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7

One of the marathoners wore a T shirt that read: “Running for Life”. Yes, and the life God is calling us to transcends our physical existence. It is a higher calling and purpose in our lives we can fulfill only through Him, and is:
· a love for us to experience that can transform us,
· a battle for us to engage in that is worth fighting, and
· a story for us to live in that is far bigger and better than we can imagine.

Finally, this is what it will be like when we triumphantly enter the pearly gates of heaven. If we have received Christ as our Savior and repented of all of our sins, we will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven by large throngs of angels, our loved ones, and many other saints rejoicing at our arrival, and welcoming us with great joy and cheers: “Great job! You made it! We knew you would! Great to see you! Welcome home!”

And when we arrive at the throne of God and stand before the sovereign, living God of the universe to give an account for our lives – the race set before us, we will hear Him say: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23

The Lord brings people across our paths for us to minister to (and be ministered to). These are divine appointments, so let us encourage them with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory