Most of the trouble I’ve gotten into started with the best of intentions. When recalling these moments I simply use the phrase, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Many of these times involved hiking or going for a long walk. At some point, I inevitably wish I had a rain coat, better shoes, water, snacks, or a camera. At these times, I’m too far from shelter, warmth, comfort, or home.
This brings me to my friend. He has run the The Crim every year for more than a decade. Now me, I’m not crazy about running. If I run, I’m being chased by a bear. But I prefer to hike with someone much slower than me so if I am chased, I only have to out run my friend and then I can slow down. Anyway, my friend loves to run the race.
He told me that as much as he likes The Crim, there is a point where he wonders what he is doing. He is tired and ready to be done. That is until he gets to ‘the place.’ There is the place along the route where people are standing on the side of the road and sitting in bleachers. They are screaming and shouting encouragement to the runners. My friend says that these shouts and screams give him a burst of energy to finish the race. Their encouragement in his time of fatigue and second guessing is just what he needs to finish strong.
Just like the race, life gets hard. There are times that life can beat us down and what ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ gets too hard and we want to quit. After all, we’ve given all we have to give. We have tried every idea and plan to change the course of our life. Nothing works. The sickness is still present, the bills are still piling in, our kids are still in trouble, and our unemployment is about to run out. Runners call it hitting the wall. When it comes to life we might say that the wall hits us.
In those times, I think it would make a world of difference if we could surround ourselves with people that would encourage us to keep going. They would shout, “You can make it.” “Keep going! You’re almost there!” “Keep running!” “We’re so proud of you!” “You’re awesome!” I know it would make a big difference for me. What about you?
Encouragement is a great thing. When we talk with someone that has been where we are, or are going, we find out that we are not alone. That’s what I like about the Bible stories, especially the ones in Hebrews 11. I find out that I am not alone on my journey.
Some of the people that had great victories in their lives are Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Joshua, David, and Daniel. It is good to know that the good guys win. There are also people that did not make it through with great victories.
Good and godly people were tortured, mocked, beaten, and put in prison. They were stoned to death, sawn in two, and killed. These good people lost everything and everyone because of their faith. It is good to run with them, too. They know the down side of faith.
Then in the next chapter of Hebrews we find these words, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” These people, winners and losers, are shouting and screaming from the bleachers to keep running. They are telling us that it is worth it, don’t quit! Each one of them knows exactly what we are going through. They know that, no matter what, the race is worth running.
Maybe you are tired from running the race. Maybe you are ready to quit. DON’T! You can make it. I know you can. Find someone that will run with you and encourage you. It will make all the difference in the world. I promise.