As I entered into my forties, I have pushed the limits of my body by running many marathons. Last year, I decided I would go all out and do the “Big One,” the 100-miler.
Training, running between 50-100 miles a week, went from June-September. This increased as the race got closer. Strength-training also consumed several hours a week, but it all went great. Because of the preparation, I felt as if I was going to run an amazing time and do it with no problems. I had even more motivation to finish because a father of one of my students had just died from kidney failure and my race was dedicated to his memory. I was going to tear this race up!
Oh, how I was wrong.
The race involved 16.66-mile loops, and the 100-miler consisted of six of those loops. The terrain involved single-track trails through hills, valleys, a small section of rail trail, and a short stint on paved roads. Food and beverages would be served every four miles.
The day of the race was beautiful to start out, and it was sunny when I took off at the 4 p.m. start. The first lap went great, except for the pain in both legs. Seven hours later, with a headlamp on, I felt the first raindrops fall. By the middle of the second lap, I twisted my ankle, and my knees started to hurt—only 30 miles into the race! I wanted to quit at this point; my morale was rock bottom, and I was in so much pain. Although I had prepared well, I was falling apart and thought I would not make it through that lap.
Trustingly, I began to pray through that flooded trail of hills and slippery rocks, that Jesus would give me strength, even though everything seemed against me. Instead of the pain, I kept focused on Him and talked with Him throughout the race. I was at peace with what was going on and thought of my student’s father, who was now wrapped in Jesus’s arms.
At 25 hours and 14 minutes, all glory to God, I crossed the finish line.
We all will go through life with countless problems that seem insurmountable to overcome. Jesus goes with us all the way to the finish line, which is eternal life with Him. We always seem to hope that the Lord will make life easier for us, but that is not always the case. Isaiah 26:4 states, “Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord is an Everlasting Rock!” That means we should continue to look to Jesus and He will guide us and give us peace through the dark and rainy nights.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, we know that life in this world will have many trials and tribulations, but we ask that you would come to us when we doubt or are lost and confused. May we continue to trust in the Rock who will always be there to help all of us when we stumble. We pray that you would give us strength to continue to shine our light in this world. AMEN.
Photo (c) sportpoint/iStock