When You’re Weary in the Race

Tears streamed this morning as I found in my inbox one of those notes that have marked me from childhood till now – a note from my Dad. He wrote in essence to say,

“You’re doing it! Don’t give up! Keep coming! It’s real and it counts and though there are hard points, you’re running the race of faith and loving Jesus so well right now. I’m so proud of you!”

And me, plodding near three decades behind him, somewhat in disbelief that such words could be fitting for what can seem so weak to me. Is this really what it looks like? When uncoordinated and inept feel more accurate to describe my stride, and I’m trying to just put one foot in front of the other – at times even questioning if I’m even still on track – how can such confident statements be right? I’m no stranger to the fight it takes to flee the countless foes of faith and keep the heart open wide to the Love of Jesus – so freely given.

This can’t be it, I shake my head, and tears stream at even the possibility that such a weak reach on my part could be deemed noble by a father. It’s so feeble and frail and wrought with my weakness, I contest.

But he calls back from far ahead in the race, from a leg of the journey further up the way, “No, it is! It is!” – a knowing laughter fills his tone. [framed_box]He knows how awkward this clinging to Jesus can make our stride – our pride so in tug-of-war and our weakness ever present. Meekness is a hard partner to be tied to in this three-legged race of faith.[/framed_box]

If left to my own view of the mileage gained and the trek yet ahead, I’d conclude most days that surely this can’t be what it looks like to partner with grace. And that’s just when one of these notes cuts to the heart. My father’s voice calling back to me as one that’s already rounded this bend, already trudged through the mud of some of the difficult stretches, and now, turns ’round to me and gives the very words that I need to strengthen my stride.

And once more, there’s a reason for the weight of his voice, for it carries the weight and heart of Another’s Voice – the One who not only is a ways ahead of us in the race, but has already conquered, the firstborn from the dead, the forerunner who passed through the veil and is now seated above, making intercession for us (Heb. 6:20, 7:25; Rev. 1:5).

[framed_box]Jesus’ voice, filled with laughter – like the sound of many waters – calls from the upper balcony, “Keep coming! That’s it! Don’t stop now. You’re running marvelously (Rev. 1:15)!” And we look up in disbelief – discombobulated by the awkwardness and humility of it all and absolutely taken aback, unable to see or evaluate as He does. Our hearts hang by the hope imparted in the Voice that just spoke words so different than we would speak. [/framed_box]

Sometimes, we don’t get to enter in to the understanding that informs His evaluations. Our perspective and vantage point is so different than His and He doesn’t always sift through our perplexity and explain Himself. He only calls,

“Keep running! Don’t give up. Stay the course! You’re running so well and I’m so pleased with you!”

Our role, tears streaming, is just to believe Him…and to keep running. Like that chorus that rings so true,

If you don’t quit, you win!”

And putting one foot in front of the other, fumbling our way forward day by day and year by year, we bind our hearts in trust to that Voice of the One who has gone ahead of us and now calls back from the where He sits, the sound of  many waters ever ringing in our ears.