Two Saturdays ago when I went downstairs, sounds of cheering were coming from the street. I looked out the front window to see a marathon going by. It turned out to be the “Great Gainesville Road Race” that is held every year.
There was no small number of runners, and they were a whole microcosm of humanity — every age and shade, including a baby in a stroller being pushed by his father. Some were obviously athletes. Others, out of shape, had given up running and were trudging along. Some were really dragging.
No spectators were in evidence on our street, but on the corner stood an official-looking woman who turned out to be the source of the clapping and cheering.
“Whoa! All right!” she called to one.
And to others, “Look at you go! Not even breaking a sweat! Good job!”
Everyone was cheered, no matter whether they were Olympics material or barely able to make it to the next block.
The cheering woman reminded me of God. In her voice it seemed as if I could hear God rooting for each of us as we travel our life’s path: “Yeah! You’re going to make it! Good job!” or “Whoops, try again! All right!”
Whether we are sailing smoothly along or whether we are stumbling and bumbling in our journey with and toward God, I could picture God clapping and cheering, encouraging us when we become discouraged, lifting us up when we fall.
In this race, being in the lead is no cause for boasting, and there is no cause for despair if we are slow or stumbling. What matters is that we are on the road with God our companion and headed toward God our destination.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.