One of the ‘extras’ that I enjoy – living where I am at the moment- is that from time to time I get to see the Red Arrows – ( Royal Air force Acrobatic Team ) – who are based nearby – flying over during their practices.
Whenever I see them I’m reminded of when we lived further north and would watch the Great North Run. As the race began the Red Arrows would fly over – jetting their red, white and blue smoke and creating an amazing backdrop at the beginning of the race – it was spectacular to see.
I never took part in that run – but – do wonder what that ‘fly past’ must have meant to those that were participating. I would imagine that it really spurred them on as they began – what was for most – a challenging few hours. They would feel energised – excited – full of hope and determination – to do their best – to finish as well as they could – to win that medal.
Many would struggle as the miles went by – they would become weary – wonder if they would make it to the end but – all along the way – they were cheered by the crowds that lined the route. I’m sure that each shout of encouragement injected them with a further spurt of energy – gave them the strength they needed to keep going.
I’m drawn to a parallel – to a run of a different kind – that many of us have embarked upon – the ‘run of faith’ – the run of a lifetime – so often begun with an ‘amazing backdrop’ of encouraging believers – those who ‘light the way’ for us – showing us how wonderful – how life changing such a run will be.
We’re energised by the new purpose that God gives us – as we join the thousands of others who are running this race. We respond to the encouragement of those along the way – we determine to make it to the end.
Often times it gets hard – we feel out of breath – wonder if we’ll be able to keep going – when – just when we need it – we hear a shout – see a face – know someone is there to spur us on.
One of the most special moments that I witnessed – during the Great North Run one year – was the sight of two men almost limping past – not far from the end of the race – and – I realised that one of them was literally holding the other one up and running with him – so determined he was to get him to the end.
I’m running this life of faith – have been energised and encouraged y so many on the way – determined to make it to the end – but – my biggest desire is to help others finish well too.
I want to be that encourager – one who sees when someone is tiring – losing heart – forgetting that first burst of wonder – of excitement at the beginning of their race. I want to cheer them – spur them on – so that together – we can make it to the end.