Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
I experienced something new and exciting today — my first community Bible study. As a girl who attended a Lutheran day school from preschool to senior year in high school, this might not seem like something that should be so exciting. For me, though, this is a new opportunity to become closer to my God, and help me rediscover (or perhaps even discover for the first time) aspects of my life which I have been missing.
The study I enrolled in captured my interest right away. It is called Restless and will be discussing the story of Joseph and the mystery of one’s role in this world. I have been questioning my position in life for some time now, so it’s no wonder I was drawn to such a topic. And after my first group study today, I believe I will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome of these next eight weeks.
Looking at Hebrews 12:1 made me wonder if I have been running the race God has marked out for me. I began to question many things: who am I? What does God want me to become? Why does God have a plan for me?
As I question these things I feel a sense of discontentment and guilt. Discontentment because I am unsure the answers to these questions. Guilt because I am unsure whether I should be asking my Holy Savior such things. I mean, He has and has always had a plan for me, right? He knows how my life will progress and who I will one day become. Should I then worry about my future? I feel so restless and impatient. It’s like there’s a beating of a drum somewhere in the distance and I’m not sure if I should stop to listen, begin searching for it, or start dancing. There are too many choices!
In my study, an interesting story was told that stuck with me: a woman is running an uncompetitive race where there are multiple routes, numerous distractions, no time limits, and one finish line. As the woman decides to go on a dusty trail, she sees some people on the sideline taking a break. Feeling tired herself, she decides to join them and rest for a bit. When she meets the others on the side, she quickly becomes friends. The others are funny and entertaining and witty. They share numerous laughs, mostly at the expense of continuing racers who run by them. However, after some time the woman begins to notice that those on the sideline have no expectation to continue their racing any time soon. As she feels her muscles tightening back up and the adrenalin of the race’s start fading, she becomes restless. She realizes she needs to get back in the game. Raising to her feet and ignoring the questioning looks of her new friends she pads back onto the track. Slipping into a slight jog, she rediscovers her steps and eases back into a comfortable pace, never looking back.
The meaning of this story is so impacting! I think all of us go through stages where we experience people or situations who don’t really want the best for us. Maybe its a fun friend who is a horrible influence, or perhaps a job that isn’t moving you forward. Whatever the case, becoming stuck on the sidelines is not something God wants for us. Instead, he wants us to keep running the race He’s planned out for us. You might fall a few times, you might even have a serious injury that detriments your skills, but guess what? He will always be there as a crutch so you can continue stumbling along your path. Ultimately, your perseverence will allow you to bring Him the glory He justly deserves — and what He desires.
The challenge I’ve set for myself during the next eight weeks of this Bible Study is to become more aware of the areas I stumble or slow down in my own race. I want to figure out what causes these falterings in my running. In the end, my anticipation is that I will come to a finish line that allows me to be honestly and full-heartedly thankful for everything in my life (both good and bad) because I’ll understand and know that God is there to always lead me towards a better future.