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The Race for the Prize

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

I watched a movie a few years ago, it was Kendrick Brothers' Overcomer. I found an interesting 'Christ perspective' from this movie. There was a young girl named Hannah, who had asthma but was the only runner on her school's cross country team. Hannah was a character that overcame a lot of emotional trauma in life. I wanted to spend some time to share with you my 'Christ perspective' on the cross country final in this movie. Hannah, though she was not the best runner at the beginning of the movie, overtime, she improved race after race. Hannah yearned to improve as runner, but she struggled to make the top ten. In this last race, where my point of focus will be, her coach asked her estranged father Thomas, who was blind and in a hospital bed; to help guide her through this championship cross country race. Thomas was a cross country champion athlete as well. For this championship race, the coach did not let Hannah know, that he had gone before her, to scout out this cross country course, and teamed up with Thomas to coach her through this race. The coach who scouted the course, could physically see the course, but couldn't guide her through it as well as Thomas. Thomas couldn't physically see, but could give better guidance as he had more 'expertise' in cross country.

At the championship, as Hannah was gearing up to begin, the coach handed her a recording and told her to only click start, when the race started. Hannah obeyed the instructions of her coach. When the race started, she clicked play and heard, "Hannah, this is your father, and I'm going to coach you through this race", a smile spread across Hannah's face. Because the coach went before her, she was able to be guided by her father through the entire course. This was a 3 mile course and for a girl with asthma, it was difficult. Despite the difficulty, the voice of her father kept her going over the hills, and through every tough patch. Where Hannah, would have given up, her father's voice thundered through saying, keep going, don't stop, don't listen to the fatigue in your legs, swing your arms, when the others slow down you push through, and when she got to the last 500m, with the division champion, just in front of her, the voice of her father said "Hannah, track her down". By this time of course, Hannah was tired, her heart was pounding, asthma about to set in, everything physical was a hindrance, BUT she focused ONLY on the voice of her father, and Hannah did what any christian in a battle, in their own marathon do, she pressed in. Hannah never stopped pressing, pushing, running until at the finish line, she tracked the girl down. The division state champion had been defeated because Hannah focused on her father's voice, not the runners, the soreness or even her asthma to defeat the 'undefeated'.

The Christlike life is just like this cross country race, many people are in the race, but everyone's journey is different. Like Hannah, who had asthma, a major deterrent to a long distance run; we too have our own deterrent. The deterrents come in the form of, the family that seem wrong, trauma from childhood, disappointment in God Himself because of unanswered prayers, a marriage that was supposed to be 'sent by God', but it was a wolf in sheep's clothing, multiple miscarriages without a fruit of the womb, loneliness from the cold bed of singleness; all of these and others are our 'asthma' in this race, but like Hannah, we have a Father, to coach us through. In our race, like the coach, the Father has gone before us, He has the best vantage point, He sees every thing long before we do. Then, not to be outdone, we have the Holy Spirit who guides us in the actual run. He tells us, keep pushing, don't listen to your feelings, it's ok to cry but don't give up, push past this obstacle, when we are tired and want to give up but destiny is not yet fulfilled and we can't go any further, you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit say "Daughter/Son, track it down". Though at this point, we want to give up and we want to give in, something in us pushes and presses until the promise or destiny is manifested.

There are times in the race, some of us are not like Hannnah, instead of tuning in to the voice of the Father, instead of following the leading of the Holy Spirit, we stop in the middle of the race. We focus on the many disappointments in our hearts, the empty bank accounts, the broken hearts, the trauma from a season or different seasons of our lives, the diagnosis that says you will be dead in 6 months, the umpteenth miscarriage and no baby, another birthday and you're still alone, a ministry that has not gotten off the ground; whatever the physical fatigue, we stopped simply because we are tired of crying, tired of our hearts being broken, tired of disappointments, tired of nothing happening. Friends, if you are feeling all these things and still going, great!! Keep pushing, keep pressing do not stop.

This post is however, for those who stopped running their race. I just want to tell you it is never too late to get back in the race, never too late to decide to tune into the voice of the Holy Spirit to keep going, so I want to encourage you, get up, wipe your tears, blow your nose, square your back and start running again. This time when you run, when you feel disappointment setting in, don't listen to it, when you see tears falling, wipe it and keep moving, when your heart is getting hard and the word of God cannot be planted, pray the Lord gives you a heart of flesh, but whatever you do, DO NOT STOP RUNNING. Like Thomas said to Hannah in the last 500m, I'm going to say to you, that promise God gave you, that dream He set in your heart, look at it and friend, track it down.

I leave you with this, the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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