Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Running. Don't Stop.

Running. Running. Always running. My body is screaming for me to stop. The sweat drips into my eyes, down my face, off my chin, and my hands refuse to quit shaking. As my heart pounds in my ears, I push on. The crisp morning breeze feels cool to my flushed face. I envision myself racing along the golden streets cutting through alleyways and leaping over anything that bars my path. The early morning sunlight pierces through the leaves of the trees overhead as I press on. Running. Running. Always running. Just placing one foot ahead of the other. Concentrating all my focus and thoughts on the goal: to finish the race.

I am not trying to pass any of the other runners; I just want to cross the finish line knowing that I did my best, gave my all. I glance quickly at my feet which I can't feel anymore. They seem mechanical, never stopping, never resting, never pausing long enough for me to catch my breath. I will eventually have to rest, the strength in my legs and lungs won't last forever.

I knew the race would be long and strenuous when I chose to run it, but even my training couldn't have prepared me for this. My lungs are flaming, and, feeling faint, I refuse to stop knowing that if I stop to rest, I will never be able to start running again. As I mentally wrestle with these thoughts, my legs give out from under me, and I crumple to the ground as a sharp pain shoots from my hip down my leg. The pain in my hip is worse than the pain of my flaming lungs.
Slowly rising, I think of only one thing: the finish line. I have already started the race; I must finish. Can't quit. Don't stop. Keep running. Running. Running. Always running.

I can see it: the finish line. It isn't far, just over that little grassy knoll. Don't stop running. Don't stop. It's so close. "Just a little farther," I tell myself. Ten more steps. Five more. Two. I step on the tape as I cross the line. Pulling up, I collapse on the lawn just past the finish line.

I did it. I finished, and well. No, I wasn't first, but that isn't important. I did my best, and that is all that God requires of me.

Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."