Run With the Finish Line in Sight!

I never knew exactly when it would happen but I always knew it would.

We called it “the Seth kick” and it made every track meet an exciting one!

When our kids were in high school, four out of our five ran but two of them loved it and stayed with it until they graduated.

Our son’s Seth and Luke each had their own style of running and both of them excelled in distance.

They came by it naturally, given their dad was a runner and loved to give them pointers and encourage them to give it their best (unbelievably, he still holds the record for the mile at his high school!)

Luke typically ran a consistent pace that I dubbed “the putt putt”. He would find his stride and keep it, giving it all he had until he crossed the finish line. He would usually have no more and no less than the pace that he found about mid race but it served him well and I can’t remember a time that he didn’t come home without a medal.

Seth was a different story altogether. He would start with the gun and take off, often with a group of boys breaking away and taking the lead.

Seth would stay a ways behind them, find his stride and run his pace as the boys ahead of him would continue in the front.

At some point, towards the last two laps, we could see Seth start to get a second wind, mustering every ounce of energy and determination he had, digging into the track as he began to gain ground on the runners in the lead.

We would go wild with excitement, cheering and screaming for him as the gap between them narrowed, closing the distance.

Sometimes I would think he had waited too long to get that kick but then it would come just in time.

One by one, he would begin picking off his competitors until he would cross the finish line, more often than not, in first or second place, depending on the team.

I could get so excited watching my boys run that I had to work out my jitters down by the track fence.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear a coach yell at his team in the lead, “Rehmert is gaining on you, go, go, go!”

This mamma loved it!

The most important thing for a runner to know is that he wants that finish line and he will give it 100% until he crosses it, no matter the cost.

“No pain, no gain” as the saying goes and distance runners feel that one deep.

I have never seen a runner get close to the finish line and decide to slow down unless he/she had an insurmountable injury (I actually saw a kid pull a ligament in his leg once and still finish strong!)

They see the goal, they smell that medal and even if they are in last place, everything within them says, “I started this race and I am going to finish it.”

Their coaches train them to have grit, perseverance, drive and desire to win. They are drilled day in and day out to increase their stamina, discipline their bodies and finish the race.

I can’t help but think of how much we need the encouragement to do the same.

Life is much like a distance race. Sometimes we can’t find our stride. Other times we see the finish line but it seems so far away and we are already feeling depleted of our energy. Maybe we see others that seem much further ahead and we wonder why we should bother.

The worst thing we can do, when we see the finish line in sight, is to take our eyes off of it and slow down or quit the race.

Whether we run with consistency or get a kick at the end, the goal is to finish strong.

For those who follow Christ, there is a crowd watching and cheering you on, so you can do just that!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Whatever your stride, find it and keep running that race!

I can’t wait to see you at the finish line!

I can’t wait to see you at the finish line!

Friendship Matters

I recently enjoyed reading this memory in  the autobiography of Billy Graham, which gives a positive picture about his relationship with a black man who worked for his father on his southern dairy farm in the 1920’s and 30’s, by the name of Reese Brown.

He says, and I quote:

“I especially loved to watch Reese Brown work.  He was the foreman on our place for 15 years, perhaps the highest paid farmhand in Mecklenburg County (at $3 to $4 a day, which made a few other farmers critical of my father).

Reese was one of Daddy’s best personal friends.

A black man who had served with distinction as an army Sergeant during World War 1, he had great intelligence. Physically, he was one of the strongest men I ever knew, with a tremendous capacity for working hard. Everyone respected him, and I thought there was nothing Reese did not know or could not do.

If I did something he thought was wrong, he did not mind correcting me. He also taught me to respect my father and was almost like another uncle to me.

What a beautiful picture of a friendship where race was not an issue.

There are many of these stories throughout our history that encourage me to know that things are not as bad as some would like us to think.

Sometimes we just need to turn off the news and read a good book to get a different perspective.

Maybe we will discover that friendship matters more than skin.