A friend of ours competed in Ironman last weekend. We had cheered him on as he completed the half last year, and have seen him prioritize training the past couple of years in preparation for this race. Despite his practice swimming, his wetsuit rubbed his neck for the entire 2-mile swim.
As he transitioned to the bike, volunteers slapped sunscreen on his raw neck, and he felt chills throughout his whole body. Like it or not, he knew then, this shock would be repeated later as he transitioned to the run. At different moments during both of these events, he questioned how he would finish, and was also encouraged by the presence of others.
The writer of Hebrews used the imagery of running a race to give us a picture of how we live the life we’ve been given:
We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. 2 We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete. He suffered death on a cross. But he accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy he could see waiting for him. And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne. 3 Think about Jesus. He patiently endured the angry insults that sinful people were shouting at him. Think about him so that you won’t get discouraged and stop trying. (Hebrews 12:1-3, easy-to-read version)
On Living, Blogging & Running
I think of Zach’s race, and of these verses, as I ponder the direction this blog is heading in… here are two similarities I see between the journey of this blog, our lives and a triathlon:
- Fix our eyes – Focus! Fuel. Motivation – We must never stop looking to Jesus… Think about him! Because God has already accomplished the most important thing through his Son, once upon a time in history, we can rest in what has been done. This is good news! Our weakness, His strength.
- Run the race – Just do it. Get moving! Endure… Face the obstacles as they come and let the big picture help you take the next step.
Faith & Doubt
Fixing our eyes and running the race is called faith. The Hebrews writer defined faith as that which “makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.” If we are going to endure and persevere we need fuel and motivation. We have to believe that God has made it possible for us to succeed or we will never enter the race.
As far as doubt along the way? I think it is inevitable and a sign that we are on the right path. I know Zach had a lot of questions about how he was doing and if he would finish well, but the point is, he didn’t stop until he was done – 14.5 hours of moving! Well done, ZB!
What motivates you? What keeps you going when the wetsuit rubs you raw?
P.S. Much of the content of the Three Things series was inspired by Brad Watson’s book Sent Together (p. 20). Check out part 2.