Finishing Strong!

Another season of high school track is complete, which means my son, Chris, has hung up his spikes for the summer (though he still laces up his well-worn running shoes most mornings to go for a run). Chris is a distance runner, and a good one, at that! My husband and I shake our heads, wondering where Chris acquired such skill, speed, and stamina. (While I have definitely caught the running bug, my pace is more like that of a s-l-o-w jog.)
As I cheered from the stands all spring, several things caught my attention that I have either taken for granted or somehow missed entirely in the past. And as I supported my son, I was also drawn to the messages illustrated before me on the track that liken our faith journey to a race...

    Coach Clark with Chris after a 2-mile Race
  • I observed Chris' coaches who spent months training and preparing my son and every other young man on the team. Their guidance and instruction was invaluable as they pushed Chris toward excellence, encouraging him every step (literally!) along the way. These coaches are also men of integrity and faith, modeled to the boys both on and off the track. (Thanks, Coach Clark and Coach Steiner.) "...encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity..." Titus 2:6-7  Who are the coaches in your life...those who have invested time training and preparing you in your faith "run"? What invaluable guidance have they given that has stuck with you, encouraging you as you take each step in your journey? (Have you taken time to thank them?)

  • As Chris rarely walked through the door before 6 p.m. on any given school day, I knew the hours upon hours of strict training he and his teammates underwent throughout the season, all to be prepared to compete in a brief but powerful two-, five-, and/or ten-minute race during each meet. "...Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes...goes into strict training..." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25  What does your training look like? Are you giving 100%? Are your eyes on the heavenly Prize as you train - as you serve God, as you worship & as you work, as you dig into His Word and let it speak to you?

Following a High-5 from Kyle & Caleb
  • I saw first-hand the comaraderie and friendships that developed and grew strong among teammates as my son and his friends worked hard, side by side; as they cheered one another on; as they shared in each other's victories and losses; as they pushed each other to improve every day. "...encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11  Who are your teammates? Who encourages you and builds you up, standing beside you, as you face life's victories and losses? Who can you encourage as they run the race of faith?

  • Keeping my own stopwatch, I learned just how much every second counts in a race. Though every runner wants to win, he also asks himself, "Can I beat my personal record (PR) today, even by a second, achieving my personal best?" "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." Colossians 4:5  Yes, every second counts. Think of every opportunity you may have today or tomorrow, as you interact with "outsiders" - with those who do not have faith in Christ. Make every second count, giving them your personal best by giving them the love of the Lord.

    Chris finishing strong!
  • I noticed with a new perspective the markings on the track: Starting lines, staggered by lane. Guide lines that separate one lane from the next. And, of course, the finish line. The race is marked out before the runners. They take their marks and the gun is fired. Number cards are flipped, letting every competitor know how many laps remain. Unlike sprinters, who race at top speed for the length of the dash, distance runners must pace themselves, finding just the right speed to keep their competitive edge, but maintain stamina until the end. As Chris would round the last lap, a final burst of speed would kick in, his last bit of energy expended. Keeping his eyes fixed on the finish line, he would persevere, finishing strong! "...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." Hebrews 12:1-2  Truly, our race is marked out for us. God's perfect Guide Lines are marked clearly for us in His Word, keeping us "on the right track"! Though we may not know how many laps remain, we are long-distance runners and we must persevere toward the finish line. Sometimes we mistakenly treat the race like a dash, failing to pace ourselves. Winded and weary, we want to give up. Maybe we even trip or stumble. But our Savior steadies us and supplies stamina for every step. We keep our eyes on the One who provides us with the strength and the endurance to finish strong! One day, we will be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7


  1. Excellent insights Deb! I also thought of how the race is marked out for each of us. Unlike a track oval our individual races are all a little different and we can get in trouble if we try to run just like everyone else!

  2. I love your point that every second counts in this race! Thanks for your wonderful words and insights. Blessings!