A popular quote has been attributed to Eric Liddell (on whom "Chariots of Fire" was based): "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."
I competed in the Clarklake Triathlon yesterday...and I beat myself! I had an overall time of 1 hour 48 minutes, which was well below my estimated time of 2 hours 10 minutes. I was 22nd of 26 in my age group, but the experience was exhilarating!
Prior to beginning the triathlon yesterday, though, a good friend sent me a text message: "I'll be praying for you as you run for the glory of God." It was appreciated, and I was later encouraged by those words. After swimming the 1/2 mile and about 4 miles into the 13.5 mile bike portion, I was starting to sharply fatigue. I was reminded of all the good advice I'd heard during my training: "Pace yourself. Don't worry about what others are doing. Go at your pace."
Well, during that fatiguing process, I was reminded of my friend's good words about running for the glory of God. I reflected on some people in my life who would gladly trade their wheelchairs for the chance to compete in an event like this. I thought, "If Jason (a paraplegic friend) or Joni Earickson-Tada were told, 'You can get out of your wheelchair on one condition: you must compete in a triathlon;' " My hunch is that they would jump at the chance.
So I took that opportunity to smile, enjoy the tightness in my lungs, and the burn in my legs, saying, "Thank you, God, for giving me the ability to swim, and bike, and run, and breathe heavily, and push myself in ways others may not be able to do, and enjoy the health you've given me."
More than simply performing well for my own standards (good grief, a 69 year-old guy "smoked" me!), I used the opportunity to run in pain for God's glory; to remember those who were/are not able to compete, and mention their names to God.
Run for the glory of God, Christian.
Don't give up.
Run as if your life depends on it.
Because it does.