Running with Endurance

Running with Endurance

Did you know you can rest while running? That’s not an oxymoronic concept, it’s a fact. Long distance track runners experience it all the time. They’ll tell you that there is a point while running that they feel like giving up, when all of a sudden they’ll get what’s called a second wind. It’s as if you’re starting all over again with renewed strength. It’s a kind of rest even though you’re still in motion. During my freshman year in high school I ran track on the cross-country team which was a two-mile race, and one of the things the coach constantly drilled into us was endurance.

In another sense, I’ve driven across the country many times, and I can recall getting into such a groove that I didn’t want to stop driving – I dug in and kept on going. I drove 19 straight hours one day. I did not get tired, and would be irritated when I had to stop to refuel. Once I fixed my mind on my destination, the rest was easy.

Do you know what your goal is in life? Have you ever wondered about your purpose? Well you won’t find it standing on the sidelines. You can’t learn to swim until you get into the water, and you can’t learn your purpose until you get into God’s rest. You have to have the “want-to” like the athlete who sincerely and eagerly pleads “Put me in coach!”

Biblical scholars will tell you there are three kinds of rest – the creation rest where God rested on the seventh day, the Jewish Sabbath rest, and the realm of God’s rest for Christians – for believers in Jesus Christ.

The Book of Hebrews chapter 3 tells us that after the children of Israel departed from Egypt, a whole generation wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and died there because of their unbelief. Verses 7 – 11 read: “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, 8) Harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9) When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works 40 years. 10) Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, they do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11) So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.” [KJV]
So what is this rest? It is the rest available to believers who are earnestly seeking to do, to work out, God’s will and purpose for their lives. It is the rest of knowing that even when we stumble we have an ever-present helper. Think of mountain climbing – how during the difficult times you dig deeper into the rock and “hang in there.” That rock being the same Rock who was Jesus Christ that followed the children of Israel in the desert. [1 Corinthians 10:4 KJV]

Some people are born with obvious natural talent, some are not. But everyone is born with a purpose, a gift for which God has equipped us to bring forth into the world. It begins with humility: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” [1 Peter 5: 6, 7]

God loves us affectionately, and wants us to rest in him – to come to him and roll over all of our burdens, our worries, anxieties, doubts and fears to him so that we may run the race of endurance effectively. [Ref. Hebrews 12:1-3, KJV]

Our ever-present help is the spirit of God that dwells within the heart, the mind of Christians. We’re only human and apart from God we face a life of impossibilities, but with God, all things are possible to those who believe. If we run with patience and endurance we will be rewarded with a crown of victory. The Book of Isaiah 40:31 reads: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” [KJV]

I’m reminded of the 1985 song by Billy Joel called “You’re Only Human (Second Wind).” The song is about teenage depression and suicide, but I think we can expand it within this context. Here are the lyrics…the YouTube video follows…
[You’re having a hard time and lately you don’t feel so good
You’re getting a bad reputation in your neighborhood
It’s alright, it’s alright
Sometimes that’s what it takes
You’re only human, you’re allowed to make your share of mistakes
You better believe there will be times in your life
When you’ll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school
Don’t forget your second wind
Sooner or later you’ll get your second wind
It’s not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You’re gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It’s alright, it’s alright
Though you feel your heart break
You’re only human, you’re gonna have to deal with heartache
Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
But they’re the only thing that you can truly call your own
Don’t forget your second wind
Wait in that corner until that breeze blows in
You’ve been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you’re thinking everything’s gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong
But hold on
Till that old second wind comes along
You probably don’t want to hear advice from someone else
But I wouldn’t be telling you if I hadn’t been there myself
It’s alright, it’s alright
Sometimes that’s all it takes
We’re only human
We’re supposed to make mistakes
But I survived all those long lonely days
When it seemed I did not have a friend
Cause all I needed was a little faith
So I could catch my breath and face the world again
Don’t forget your second wind
Sooner or later you’ll feel that momentum kick in
Don’t forget your second wind
Sooner or later you’ll feel that momentum kick in]

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Amazon.com). www.larrybuford.com, [email protected], (213) 220-8101