I can imagine kids saying to their mum, ‘One day, I want to go to the Olympics’. ‘Oh, really’, comes the reply, ‘what would you like the compete in’. The answers to come thick and fast, ‘Bobsled, figure skating, ski jumping’. All the glamourous stuff. Or perhaps: ‘I want to run like Usain Bolt, swim like James Magnusson, play basketball with the Boomers’.
What child aspires to run the steeplechase? 3 kilometres, 28 obstacles, 7 water jumps. Just when you start to get in your stride, there’s another jump, and another splash, and another jump. It takes all your energy just to stay on your feet. And if you win? Tell me a household name who has won the steeplechase. There’s no glory in it.
Life is more like a steeplechase than a sprint. It’s an exhausting run, with many obstacles. Your feet get wet, and you might even fall a few of times. And when the race finally ends, perhaps abruptly, where’s the glory!
Facing the prospect of death, Paul reflects on his life; a marathon with constant obstacles that slowed him down and at times discouraged his spirit. But he writes with hope, ‘The time for my departure is drawing near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing’ (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Run with perseverance the race set before you.