In the early years of our ministry here at Lancaster Baptist, we did not always have the budget to provide a hotel room for our guest speakers, so Terrie and I often hosted these men in our home. One of the men I looked forward to spending time with was Dr. John Goetsch who came every year to preach our Winter Revival meetings in January. One night after preaching the evening service he came back to our home and commented on the good spirit of the service. At the end of our brief conversation, he mentioned that he did not want to wake or alarm anyone when he got up early the next morning to run. I thought to myself, “Does he think I am some kind of sluggard? He is going to run—from my house. I have running shoes…” So I told him, “Well, since I’ll be up anyway, I’ll just go ahead and run with you.” Out of respect, he did not smile on the outside, but I am fairly certain he was smiling on the inside!
Now, my idea of running starts by just getting loose and walking a bit. That walking leisurely transitions into a slow-pace jog to get the cardio to ramp up! Eventually, that jogging leads to a full run which needs to notch back down to a jog, so the cardio doesn’t get stuck at that high rate! That is not how Dr. Goetsch views running. He does not care if his cardio gets stuck at a high rate. He runs seven miles every day!
Our morning run came a little too soon for me, but as we started, I was feeling pretty good. I was staying up with him and even pushing him a little. That lasted a good 100-200 yards, but then several parts of my body began to protest. I began to experience charlie-horses and cramps. My feet, ankles, legs, heart, and lungs conspired in mutiny. You might think that Dr. Goetsch stopped for a moment to help or say, “See you back at the house,” but as I began my walk back to the house, he never even looked back.
Sometimes the race of the Christian life gets tough. We can experience the aches and pains of trials and circumstances. We can be discouraged by media and the economy. But, by the grace of God, we can finish our race. God promises to supply us with the strength we need to fulfill the course that He has set before us, and He promises to run alongside to encourage and lift us when we fall.
So, the next time you experience those spiritual charlie-horses, go to the Cross, get to the altar, and spend time with God. Don’t give up! Stay in the race! And renew your strength in the Lord.