Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, December 31

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” — Hebrews 12:1-2

Our Heavenly Father in the Stands

I ran the 10K and 5K on my college track team. I still remember the Big South Championships for the 10K event. My dad and brother had driven from Maryland to North Carolina to watch me run. The 10K is a mentally and physically tough event — 25.5 laps on a track at race pace. Tough stuff but I was ready.

As the race began I felt good, feeling in control of my breathing and running form for the first half. I was latched onto racing behind two girls from Liberty University, using them to break the wind. Then about halfway through, the girl I was relying on dropped out of the race. I was all alone for the last 5K. I started feeling mentally shaky and the fatigue started setting it. Thoughts to slow down, or even stop, slowly started to creep through my mind. The voice inside my head saying “stop” grew louder.

But each lap as I passed the stands, I would hear my father’s slow Southern accent from the crowd, a quiet and steady, “Go Lyd! Keep moving!” Once I heard that voice, I would quickly be reminded to keep digging, to focus on the finish line where I could hug him, and not on the momentary pain or discomfort. But by the time I reached the other side of the track, the thoughts of negativity had crept back into my mind. Every time I got to a certain point on the track, however, passing my father in the crowd, I heard his slow, steady encouragement reminding me of the finish line. Just had to get there.

This, to me, is a picture of my Heavenly Father. So often in life I want to quit. I am tired of walking through frustrating, painful or uncomfortable seasons in life. But when the “laps” of life hurt or just feel as if they are never going to end, I am reminded that my Heavenly Father is there rooting for me the entire way, reminding me of my Heavenly finish line. Reminding me that the end goal of my life has never changed. That my eternal purpose has not changed. That one day I will cross the ultimate finish line, and instead of collapsing into my earthly father’s arms at High Point University, I will collapse into my Heavenly Father’s arms for eternity.

So this year, if the laps of 2020 in this race of life have felt as if you have had to crawl at some points, I want to encourage you: Keep moving! Even if some laps are a crawl, some a walk, some a jog, or some a sprint, know that eternity awaits. The finish line is there. And praise the Lord we have such a finish line to look forward to!

— Lydia Radcliffe

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