“Ladies and gentlemen, only 5 minutes until the California International Marathon!” The little group of Weimar Academy students huddled under ponchos made from plastic garbage bags and excitedly watched the countdown display. The past several weeks were a true test of dedication. Every morning before the sun had risen, each student was faced with a difficult choice. They could walk comfortably during PE class, or they could train for the race by running. It took every bit of willpower to renounce the covers and toasty warmth of the bed to face the blustery winter air outside. The students needed even more determination to convince themselves to run until they met their goal for distance. Now, the time had finally come. The countdown ticked its numbers away as the loudspeaker announced its progress. 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! Cheers erupted like sparklers on the 4th of July and everyone took off with enthusiasm. The miles went by, first quickly and then more slowly. When each person finished their leg of the race, relief and a sense of completion followed. The challenge was over at last!
Although we may not all run in a literal race, we are all on the course that leads towards heaven. It may be tempting to focus on momentary pain and discomfort, or distractions on the sidelines. Instead, let us focus on our goal and reach for it in God’s strength.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1