The Bible likens our lives to a race run before thousands of spectators: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” 1.

I love running. Around 16 years ago, when I needed to lose weight, I tried to run every day. Eventually I built up endurance and was able to run about six kilometers in 30 minutes. Then I had an accident; I fell from the second story of our house while trying to help someone who was locked out of their room. I ended up shattering my heel 2 bone in what the doctor called a “walnut fracture” of around nine pieces. I also sustained other injuries. I limped for two years, until I had surgery, but even after my recovery, I realized that my running days were over.

When talking about his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 3. This is a metaphor, yet it is very apropos, as anyone who has ever run knows it takes time and practice to be able to run any distance. Sometimes you must fight to continue. You have to build endurance, you have to increase stamina, and you have to cultivate mental fortitude. The same is true in life.

After my accident I had to look for new ways to exercise, and that is when I took up biking, which has been my go-to form of exercise now for years. I also had to reassess my life and service to God during this time, as the accident put certain limitations on what I was able to do.

I have come to look at the period of my life since the accident as a time when God has been able to train me more fully to run the race of life with Him as my trainer and guide. I had to embrace lessons of patience, positivity, empathy for others, and looking to God for His strength, qualities which, up until that time, I had struggled with.

Although I still deal with pain from time to time, I see many good results which came from this trying time, and I believe that, with God’s help, I have been able to overcome many of the physical difficulties and developed stronger character as well. Through this experience I have become a better athlete in the marathon of life, and I am able to run with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the one who truly keeps me going.

Here is another passage from Paul where he compares our lives of service to Christ to how athletes need to be serious and disciplined in their approach to training, and willing to sacrifice and let go of things which hold them back from being a winner.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.—1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NIV

God bless you as you continue in your marathon of life!

  1. Hebrews 12:1 NIV
  2. calcaneus
  3. 2 Timothy 4:7