This week as I was preparing to speak with a women’s group on Holding onto Hope in Times of Suffering, I recalled a verse in Isaiah. Thankful to share this devotion from Lisa Preuett, author of Embracing the Race. Although I am not a runner and you may not be either, we are all running the race of life.
Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
In the runner’s world, many can run continuously from start to finish without ever slowing down. But that strategy doesn’t fit everyone. When training for my first half-marathon, I’d gotten up to four miles without stopping. My heart soared with pride, but my knees seared with pain! After getting advice from seasoned runners, I attempted a strategy from expert Jeff Galloway. His premise is that if you incorporate short walks in between spurts of running, you’ll avoid exhaustion and injury. It also conserves your body’s resources and allows for quicker recovery.
This strategy gave my knees a rest and I was able to increase my mileage each week without any pain. These short walks also gave me a mental break. Instead of thinking, Wow—I’ve got to run multiple miles today, it was easier to think, Okay—I can run for the next couple of minutes, but then I’ll get a break. I embraced this strategy because it was much more doable than running full force without stopping.
This scenario paints a picture of what we often do in our walk of faith. We falsely think we can keep going at a breakneck pace, but God designed us to intentionally slow down at specific times in our race of faith. Our quiet time with Him prepares us to go back out on the course of life and keep going. This whole run-walk approach gives us a new perspective on how we ought to view the challenges that seem insurmountable at different seasons of life. When it says in Isaiah 40:31 that we soar on wings like an eagle, it means we get an eagle’s perspective. Just as an eagle soars above the storm and sees the bigger picture, we too can get that same perspective if our hope is truly in God.
Maybe you’re not a runner and can’t relate to the race environment. Perhaps you have no intentions of ever lacing up running shoes.
But runner or not, you are running a race.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul depicts the Christian life as a race. He urges us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
The Christian life is a long distance race we are called to live one step at a time. There are obstacles and hills to climb. Sometimes we are running quickly at a smooth pace. Other times we hit the wall and feel like giving up before we reach the finish line.
Jesus started the race with us and is also waiting at the finish line. No medal or cash prize could ever come close to the eternal joy we will experience when we see Him face to face.
There are so many powerful parallels between running and our faith journey with Jesus! They paint vivid pictures of what we encounter in this race called life.
My book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul, will awaken your mind to these parallels. You’ll be equipped with scripture, encouraged to persevere and inspired with determination. You’ll be challenged to plunge deeper in your walk with God!
Each day’s reading will give you a peek into the runner’s world, a fresh Biblical insight, practical life application, soul-searching reflections and a heart-felt prayer.
Kyle Idleman, best-selling author of Not a Fan says this about the book:
“Honest and fun to read, you’ll find encouragement and challenge that come from Bible passages and through the language of a runner. If you’re a runner, you’ll love this book. If you’re not a runner, there is plenty here for you, too.”
Embracing The Race is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version: bit.ly/Embracerace