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, 2 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.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
A dear friend, Maureen Pranghofer, wrote and performed a song called “Some Run the Race”. Maureen and her husband Paul have a myriad of disabilities between them, but they are certainly not defined by these limitations. They instead focus on the gifts God has given them as children of His. Among these gifts are hospitality, encouragement and teaching. They also have a wonderful sense of humor which is a necessity in order to survive some of life’s challenges.
After I became a Christian, this song, “Some Run the Race” kept giving me a thought provoking picture of a big athletic field with a cross at one end. There were many people on this field with their eyes focused on the cross. Hebrews 12:1-3 are powerful verses that fueled these pictures.
In verse one we know that we are surrounded by many great witnesses. My imaginary field has bleachers on either side and these bleachers are overflowing with role models such as Moses, Abraham, Ruth, David and the list goes on and on. How exciting to know that as we run our race down towards the finish line to the cross we can learn from all the people who have crossed it previously. These are not just Bible heroes, but fellow believers. Cheering us on! This first verse also talks about not getting too tangled up in worldly things, but to keep running towards that cross with perseverance.
Verse two reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus endured in order that we may have this chance of running the race. I am sure it is obvious by now, but in my picture of this song and more specifically this passage, it was a word picture for our walk with Christ. We need to keep our eyes on the prize at all times.
Now lets go back to our athletic field and take a moment to put yourself in the middle of the field with your eyes towards Christ. There is cheering from all around you! It is exhilarating! Are you walking, running, crawling or perhaps being carried towards that cross? This part brings tears to my eyes to realize that we do not have to be the best athlete or the richest person or the most academically minded professor. God knows our short comings and loves us just as we are. We may need help to keep moving towards that cross and that is very acceptable. On the flip side, we may need to help someone else at some point and we need to remember to be humble and gentle.
Too many times in my experiences I have come across a person with a disability who is so bitter they are afraid to take assistance or thank someone for their generousity. Don’t let your heart get so lost in negativity. It is with Joy that Jesus was crucified and the least we can do is be grateful and joyful in our journey towards that cross.
Back to my friends Maurene and Paul for a moment, they both have such a gentle spirit that you feel loved and affirmed in just speaking with them. I have always admired their ability to stay content even in the most awkward or trying circumstances. I am grateful and proud to have them on the field with me as I continue to run this race towards Jesus.
My prayer is that you can see yourself running this race and that you can hear the many people cheering. Remember if you need help of any kind…it is there! Just keep pressing on.