Run With Determination the Race That Is Set Before You

Training clinics for Vancouver’s 10-kilometre Sun Run started last week.  With almost 34,000 participants last year, it’s Canada’s largest 10k road race, and one of the largest timed 10k races in the world. The annual event began in 1985, and is still going strong.

One year, a local radio talk show host invited any runners to call in the day after the race to talk about their experience. “Are you a runner?” she asked. “How long would it take to go from being an absolute non-runner to running the 10-kilometre Sun Run? What keeps you going?”

As a non-runner I listened with interest–maybe I’d try it myself next year.

One caller spoke in favour of the Sun’s own training schedule designed to help sedentary people become walkers, and walkers become runners. Another suggested following the training schedule along with a community group. Another talked about wearing comfortable clothes and good running shoes. Several spoke of the Sun Run itself as an encouraging experience–the music, the interaction with others, the mass of people all moving toward the same goal.

In Scripture, the life of faith is sometimes described as a race:

. . . let us run with determination the race that lies before us . . . (Hebrews 12:1)

. . . the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above. (Philippians 3:13-14)

We might say that faith is a kind of “Son” run for those who have placed their faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Only instead of running for 10 kilometres, we run for this life and into the next; not with 34,000 or 50,000 people, but with many, many more saints around the world and throughout history.

How can we run this race? What keeps us going?

At the risk of being overly simplistic, we might think of Scripture as our training manual–a guide for faith and life that teaches us how to live, grow, and run with determination. We might think of the church as our fellow runners and encouragers–a world-wide body that surrounds us and a local group where we can engage on a more personal level.

Most of all, in running the race of faith, we run toward Jesus. So:

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God’s throne. . . . So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. (Hebrews 12:2-3).

Writing/Reflection Prompt: I won’t be joining the Sun Run this year, but I’m still running the race of faith. For me this week, that includes working on my book manuscript that’s due at the end of February, speaking in chapel at Power to Change, and getting to know my new church community. What is the race set before you this week? What keeps you running with determination?

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8 thoughts on “Run With Determination the Race That Is Set Before You

  1. Thank you for your encouragement, April. We have two very good friends at your new church, Louise Oppel and Betty Funk who were fellow missionaries with us years ago in the Congo. If you see them, give them a hug from us!

  2. Thank you April. Very encouraging comments. By the way, which church are you now worshiping in? You talk of a new church. Jake

    1. Hi Jake – I completed my pastoral ministry at Emmanuel at the end of November so I could give more time to my other writing and speaking. This month I started a new role as Resident Author with Valley CrossWay Church–the vision is for me to continue writing and speaking (e.g., my book manuscript due at the end of February, my series of four chapels for Power to Change, pulpit supply in other churches), plus do some preaching at Valley CrossWay, perhaps offer workshops, and other involvements that we’re still discerning. I’m already booked to speak at a couple of other churches in the Lower Mainland, some other events across Canada, and open to consider other speaking opportunities:

  3. Thank you for awakening myself weighed down and static nowadays. Yes, I am still on the race…..move on…towards and along with Jesus.

    1. I can’t imagine you static, Joon – for even in a season of waiting, I believe there is movement and growth, perhaps a deepening if not exactly going forward. I might add to your comment…we move on…towards and along and deeper with Jesus.

  4. The race that is set before us this season includes volunteering in a small Mennonite Community in Germany and connecting with Peter’s relatives who immigrated to Germany from the FSU in the 90s. There are many ways in which your reflections are helpful for this situation, including the fatigue that settles in when functioning in German. It is good to read about your changing life and ministry.

    1. And I appreciate keeping up with your changing life and ministry as well, Elsie. It seems at every age/stage, we re-invent ourselves with new ways to express our faith and creativity, and it’s good to see how you’re using yours.

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