Dr. Rebekah McCloud
In the Aesop’s Fable The Hare & The Tortoise, the hare teases the tortoise for being slow. The tortoise retorts that he is not as slow as the hare thinks and challenges him to a race. Believing this to be an easy win, the tortoise accepts the challenge, sets out on the course, and along the way he stops and takes a nap. When he awakens, the tortoise has passed him by and is near the finish line. Although the hare ran as fast as he could, he was unable to overtake the tortoise and he lost the race. The moral of the story is that the race is not always to the swiftest; slow and steady wins the race.
Do we believe this? We are all running in this race called life. Some of us are running to something. Some are running away from something. Some are running through something. Some are running around something. Still others are running with something, running something, or running for something. Some of us are expert runners. Some run cross country, we are in it for the long haul. Some sprint; we only have a little bit of run in us. Some of us run the relay; we need a team or we cannot run. Then there are those of us for whom running is out of the question; we might manage to muster up a fast walk. Regardless, we are all in the race.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” The race is ours to lose. Jesus has already paid the price for our victory. Running this race takes perseverance, patience, and joy. First, there is perseverance. Hebrews 12:1 says in part, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” 2 Timothy 4:7, a familiar scripture, says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Second, there is patience. Proverbs 16:32 tells us, “Better a patient person than a warrior; one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 reminds us that “the end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.” Third, there is joy. Proverbs 29:6 reminds us that, “The sin of the wicked is a trap, but the just run along joyfully,” and Psalm 119:32 tells us, “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”
There are times when the Lord will ask us to run. When he does, we should run swiftly like Ahimaaz (2 Samuel 18:27), Asahel (2 Samuel 2:18), or Elijah the Tishbite (1 King 18:46). It is so easy to let our fear get the best of us. It can make room for excuses that slow our feet and prevent us from saying yes to God. Just ask Jonah, Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah. When the God asked Jonah to serve, he ran to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). Moses refused saying, “I am slow of speech,” (Exodus 4:10). Gideon said his clan was the weakest (Judges 6:15), and Jeremiah said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child,” (Jeremiah 1:6-7). Good thing God always has a ram in the bush. Isaiah did not refuse, he said, “Here I am. Send me,” (Isaiah 6:8). Later in the book he said, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint,” (Isaiah 40:31). Isaiah had the right mindset.
There are things from which we should run. The Bible tells us to flee (run) from evil (Amos 5:14), sin (Romans 6: 10-11), sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14), love of money (1 Timothy 6: 9-11), and youthful passions (2 Timothy 2:22). When we run from them, we should run to the Lord our strong tower (Proverbs 18:10) and our rock of refuge (Psalm 71:1-24). If the Lord can raise the dead, surely, he can keep us from going astray and handle anything we are going through. He is faithful!
I dare you to say yes to God. Run and see what he does with your yes. “Come what may, I want to run,” (2 Samuel 18:23).