1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
In the past, I've tried to be a runner. I even ran a half-marathon once and vowed that if God let me finish without dying, I would never attempt something so stupid again. I'm slow, I have terrible form, and I suck wind the entire time. I really loved jogging for a while; it was therapeutic. But there's a difference between a jogging and running. Jogging is pretty much fast walking. If anything, I'm a jogger; I'm not a runner.
Several of my good friends are runners. I've been to marathons to cheer them on and I'm always in awe of their ability to endure the race when everything in their mind and body tells them to STOP. I've watched them around mile 23, struggling to put one foot in front of the other but somehow mustering the strength and endurance to just keep running through the pain.
A few nights ago I had a dream. It was so vivid and I've been replaying it over and over in my mind. I was running a race and I actually won. At the end of the race, I crossed the finish line and Greg was there waiting for me. We were celebrating the victory, but he told me that I couldn't get the prizes for winning the race. I had not paid the entry fee, so I wasn't qualified to win anything. The prizes were also vivid in my mind; there were clothes, money, children's items, and gift certificates to various stores. But I couldn't have any of the prizes because I was never officially entered into the race. I had to accept that I had run the race and finished in first place; but I would not be able to have any material "treasures" to show for my accomplishment of finishing first. And I was okay with this. I was reminded of Jesus and how he ran the race of life, enduring the horrible persecution of men, winning nothing here on earth, but winning everything in heaven.
I believe God gave me this dream to let me know that no matter what happens with Kirill, I am simply called to run the race. I'm not guaranteed any kind of earthly rewards. My prize is Jesus and being with him in Heaven. My race is to run to HIM. So I will keep putting one foot in front of the other despite the pain. I will keep my eyes focused on the prize and run the path that Jesus has paved for me. Because the race is won and victory is in HIM.