Last Lap

Disclaimer: I am not a runner.

I haven’t laced up the old Nikes in an embarrassingly long time, and even when I do, I can assure you my performance is far from a track star.

But a sermon I listed to this morning by Sadie Roberston had me thinking of life– and more specifically, faith– as somewhat of a race. Sadie shared a personal anecdote of a mortifying high school track meet where she was lapped by everyone in the race and forced to finish the last lap by herself. That is, until her brother stormed the track with a speaker blaring “Heart of a Champion” and began to run alongside his sister. This small act of encouragement was enough to push her to finish the race when she wasn’t sure she was going to make it through and even count the defeat as something of a personal victory.

Her message went on to point out that God uses the lowest points– the toughest laps, if you will– to bring about amazing things for his glory. Getting there can feel unbearable, but when the focus shifts from your defeat to His incredible victory over it, God’s glory shines light even to your dark spaces.

Sadie’s story resonated with me this morning. As a second-semester senior just returning from studying abroad, I feel as if I am on my own “last lap” of sorts. I have run with all I had for so long, and now the end is almost in sight… but getting there feels impossible. So much excitement lies behind me, and the uncertainty of the future brings trepidation to my steps forward.

But the thought never occurred to me before that maybe, just maybe, something amazing might be right around the bend. Sadie’s message hit me hard, and hopefully you can find some truth to it, too. If you’re going through your last lap– or if you’ve counted yourself out of the race entirely– there is always a reason to keep running. When your legs are tired and your lungs are screaming and you want nothing more than to just finish, I promise you: you are just one lap away from the best God’s got in store for you.

How can I make such a bold claim? Because I believe that each of us is a living, breathing miracle. The air in our lungs is the breath of God’s own spirit and the hearts in our chests beat in sync with His. So even when you feel like anything but a miracle, your very existence proves otherwise. And with every new day we rise, God promises amazing redemption.

Moses had counted himself out of the race long before God he heard God’s call. At his lowest, he was nothing but an exiled murdered, but God chose him to lead a nation (Exodus 2:11-15). At Jesus’s command, demons fled from the possessed man (Mark 5:14-20) who was ostracized and hopeless. One touch from Jesus and the sick, hurting and paralyzed rose up and danced on legs once thought useless. In these and countless other examples, there is a common thread: unexpected redemption right when they were at the end of their ropes.

When you think your race is over, God has even more waiting for you at the finish line. From the first lap to the last, He is running alongside you. We have this hope for amazing things to come, because God promises miraculous redemption ahead.

So I ask you today, wherever you are in your own race– what if you were just one lap away from something amazing? 

Will you keep running?

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:1-2]

**This post was inspired by Sadie Robertson’s message titled “Keep Running.” Because she expresses this idea better than I ever could, you can watch her video here!**

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