“Wherefore seeing that we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2
Life’s lessons sometimes happen when you expect a different outcome.
A couple years after High School I decided to enter an All-Comers Track Meet in the High Hurdles. Although I had competed in several track and field events during school I had never run the hurdles. I had practiced some on my own while in college but without any coaching. I thought it would be fun to see what I could do. Besides, there would not be any competition from my age group.
The hurdles are different from other running events; timing, length of stride, form going over the hurdle, and much concentration is important besides speed. I loved the feel of properly clearing a hurdle, just low enough to feel it slide underneath you without knocking it over, while maintaining a low center of gravity, and everything working in between to come to the next hurdle with perfect form.
Since there were no other competitors in my age group I was placed in with the High Schoolers. Great, I thought. Perhaps I might beat someone.
That thought faded rapidly for in the lane to my left was Fred, the High School State High Hurdle Champion. Is it too late to change your mind?
“Runners to your marks!”
Now what? I’ve got to run. Maybe I’ll just keep running after the race, all the way home. Well, you did it to yourself.
Concentrate. Remember the stride, smooth, paced to the first hurdle. Get over it like you practiced. Make the first hurdle okay and the rest may come. Maybe I can finish the race without stumbling.
Good start! Over the first hurdle perfectly, YES! What’s this? Fred is a foot or so behind me. It can’t be. I’m ahead? Keep going!
The second hurdle slides quietly underneath, I’m down gliding to the next. Still ahead. I now realize that if everything flows this way I have a chance, small, yet a chance of beating him over all the hurdles.
Clearing the third one, I know now I’m in command. The fourth is the same, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, one hurdle to go. That one foot lead is holding.
I clear the last hurdle in perfect form. I beat the High Hurdle State Champ over all ten hurdles, in his race, and my first hurdle competition ever!
But Fred won the race. My goal was to be ahead over the last hurdle; his was to win the race. After I cleared the last one, I relaxed. No, I didn’t stop. I achieved my goal. Fred achieved his: beating me across the finish line.
If I had won that race I probably would not have learned a valuable lesson: we all have hurdles in life, many clear all of them but fail to cross the finish line as a champ. And they fail to win the crown of life and to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter ye into my rest”.
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.”
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