We were on the last leg our first group 3-mile run. All three boys and two staff had set out to “hit pavement,” 1.6 miles from our driveway, and run back without stopping once. The farthest that one of these boys had run before now, was 2 miles…with much difficulty. Two months ago, this same boy had declared that he would “never” be able to handle even one. It was “impossible” and “ridiculous” to expect him to run 2 miles under 20 minutes. Now, he was about to finish 3 in close to 30!
I often run beside the boys – to encourage (You’re doing great!) admonish (You can do better!) and instruct (Watch out for that snake!)…when my breath allows the chance.
At the end of this particular run, I was urging Boy #2 onward, when I heard some mumbling under his breath. Mumbling is often an “opportunity” to address heart issues, as the Bible says that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” So I asked him what he was saying to himself, expecting to hear a complaint, self-defeating thoughts, or the lyrics from a favorite rap song. His response made me feel proud of him, and embarrassed of my assumptions.
He was repeating I Timothy 4:7-8:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
The word of God does not go forth and return void.