Striving For Our True Home
I had the amazing opportunity to run cross country during all four years in high school. Now, before you write me off as some crazy runner, let me tell you a little more. I ran on the JV team, and for the first three years I came in dead last. Every. Single. Race.
Boy, what a humbling experience it was to constantly be the last runner to cross the finish line. I received ribbons in colors I had never heard of before! Did you know they make a lime green ribbon? I do, and it’s for 27th place. Or how about a light brown (no, not dark brown), that’s for 28th. Ok maybe I don’t remember the exact colors and places- but I’m not kidding about the crazy colors! In my worst moment, I specifically remember the school starting the awards for the meet while I was still running! Oh, thankfully these stories just make me chuckle these days, and I hope that I can use them to encourage and teach my own kids someday.
This week though, as I was reading in Hebrews, I was reminded of my cross country experiences. One of the things that got me through our long runs was dwelling on the fact that I would not be running forever. When I was in the monotony of a run, my toes hurt, and I couldn’t breathe, I would just tell myself again and again, “Ok, I need to just get to that point and turn around. Practice will be over. I’ll get to go home. I’ll feel better again.” It was the hope of being done, of feeling better, among other things that helped me to overcome the difficult runs.
As I read through Hebrews 11 this week, I was reminded again of the importance of looking ahead. The writer discusses these great men and women of faith, who did amazing things in trusting the Lord. You know what though, repeatedly, he tells us how they did it.
Hebrews 11:10 “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
Hebrews 11:13 “..having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
Hebrews 11:26 “…for he was looking to the reward.”
Repeatedly it talks about how they believed and dwelled on the fact that this life isn’t all there is. This is what helped them to have faith, to trust God in what He said. What even more convicted me was that, as you continue into chapter 12, the writer charges me to do the exact same, in the very same way.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I really liked this translation, and appreciated the phrase “the race that is set before us.” Our race in this life may change from time to time, it might look different from the race our friends’ are currently running. (This is something that I am trying to beat into my head.) Regardless of what my race looks like right now, I’m called to model after Jesus, who endured even something as terrible as the cross because He knew the joy that it would bring. I’m called to look ahead, to look to what is to come, and to act like I believe this world is not my home. I’ve been thinking a lot on this this week, as I folded laundry and let out that tired sigh. I thought of it as I got frustrated with my daughter for not obeying me immediately. I thought of it as I made plans for a birthday party. “How do I act in this situation like I believe this world isn’t it?” I’m a work in progress, and don’t always choose the right response, but praise the Lord, I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by not only many before me who have done the same, but a Savior who modeled it perfectly.