Waking up with butterflies, I checked the weather first thing. Was I going to be warm enough? Do I have the right socks? I laced up my shoes and had a light breakfast.
Today was the day of the 50th anniversary of the Rotorua marathon.
I’ve run this course twice and it’s a killer. When you’re halfway finished, past Hamurana and still naively optimistic, there’s this section I like to call THE HILL. Maybe it would be more accurate to say “hills” but THE HILL just sounds more dramatic. Plus, by the time you’re over them and on the last, scrumptiously flat 10k, you’re so over it you can’t remember how many times you ran up and down. And now you’ve got a lovely headwind with which to contend. Brilliant.
But today I was not running, I was cheering. Okay, technically, I was a course marshal but I knew so many people who were running, including my own husband, the Preacher, that I wasn’t going to just confidently point runners in the right direction, I was going to cheer for them as they ran.
And if I had to stand there all day in the height of fashion, a fluorescent high vis vest, then I was going to have FUN!
And fun I had! I jumped up and down, waved my flag (see, I know how to accessorise) shouted out encouragement (3 more k’s! You can do it! You can dooooo it!) Even called people by name. Cos I know everyone in this town.
Just kidding, their names were printed on their bibs. But still.
When the Preacher got to me, he was knackered. “Knee,” was about the only intelligible word out of his mouth. I found out later he’d stopped at the designated spot to pick up his nutrition (neat and tidy in a labelled Ziploc bag) and they didn’t have it. Not on.
So I cheered for him, told him, “you’re so close to the finish line, just push past the pain, you can do it! You can dooooo it!”
And he did!
Anywhoo, got me thinking about how encouraging the Lord is to me. All the time. Always.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
Do you see that? He’s rejoicing over us, exulting! Even calming us with His presence.
What a contrast to a common view of God as some cosmic bully in the sky with a magnifying glass zapping us ants every time we fail.
He loves you. He cheers for you. He wants you to make it. Not only does He want you to make it, He’s going to be sure you do.
“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV
If I could, I would have run with the Preacher those last few kilometres. Encouraged him there wasn’t too much further to go. Keep it up. 3 more kilometres! Heck, I would have tried to carry him if necessary (honestly, I’ve always wanted to do that scene from LOTR with Sam and Frodo at the foot of Mt. Doom! But I digress…) Then I would have been with him when he crossed the finish line and watched as he received the finisher’s medal.
That’s what Jesus does.
When we’re beat-up, discouraged, let down, hurting. When we’re at the bottom of THE HILL. Again. When we can’t even see the top and wonder how we’re even going to have the strength to make an attempt.
He’s there, running with us, carrying us, covering us.
Cheering for us.
Be blessed, Jeb xx