Two miles! I had to stop and walk twice, once for about 100 metres and once for only about 30 metres.
That is pretty pathetic for a guy who used to run marathons, a guy who is supposed to run a half-marathon in October. On the other hand, it’s a lot of progress compared to where I was even a month ago, and the post-op pain seems to finally be decreasing. I’m still not sure this half-marathon was such a good idea, but the discipline of forcing myself to get back in condition is valuable.
The interesting thing was how old disciplines start to come back. The mindset kicks in — “no matter what, no matter how slow you have to go, keep moving forward.” Paying attention to how you are feeling without giving in to it, and knowing the difference between “good” hurts and bad ones. Concentrate! Keep your breathing steady, even if it’s hard. Keep your form smooth! Keep looking ahead — it doesn’t matter if your neighbours are laughing at you or cheering you on, you have just as far to run either way, so keep your eye on the goal. All these mental disciplines, the things I had to drill into myself years ago, came back just “naturally”.
I thought of two Scriptures:
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:14-15)
If we train ourselves in the Scriptures, those patterns will stay with us. You’ll never regret knowing the Scriptures well, and establishing Scriptural patterns in your thought life. It will always stand you in good stead.
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)
Of course. The runners’ verse — you probably knew I’d come to that one. So many of the mental patterns that a successful runner must adopt have their spiritual parallel in the Christian life.
When it’s hard to live as a Christian, when it’s hard to keep on keeping on, and my spiritual breath seems to be gasping, when service seems hard and we want to give up, I’m thankful that we can look to Jesus. He has gone before us. He’s at the right hand of the Father interceding for us when we stumble. He’s preparing a place for us, and this verse reminds us that this life’s struggles are temporary and our future is with Him.
It also tells us that He is the “finisher” of our faith. He paid the price in full, but this goes beyond that. He is the finisher of my faith. He has begun a good work in me, and He will complete it.
Coming back up the road to our house, I wished, for a time, that we lived at the bottom of the hill. But I made it! In our spiritual race, we don’t very much like going up the hills. It is hard, and we can feel worn down. If that’s where you are today, remember the Finisher! He endured the Cross, far more than He asks us to endure on His behalf. He is faithful, and He will carry you through.