David and I after my first 5K
I started running this past year. I was looking for a new way to exercise, something that got me away from my basement exercise equipment and into the world around me. Plus, to be honest, I hoped I could run some with my extremely athletic husband and join him in something he loved.
One of my biggest surprises in this new running adventure has been the way my husband David has stuck by my side and coached me along the way. To me, he is such a picture of Jesus, because in the race of life:
Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us.
David has to slow down, way down, when he runs with me. He runs marathons (26.2 miles) and competes in full Iron Man competitions (swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles). He possesses great power and ability when it comes to these events, and yet, he chooses to alter his pace, slow down, and meet me at my beginner’s level. When we run together, he never leaves my side. His presence goes with me the entire race.
Jesus did the same for us. He possessed great power and ability; yet, “though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).
Jesus slowed way down for our sakes, to make a way for us to be with the Father, and to be with Him in the race of life and for all eternity (John 14:1-6). We can know that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He has promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NASB).
Jesus cares for us and leads us.
David helps me when we run together. He coaches me. He gives me advice about my posture and running stride. He helps to pace me, so I don’t run too fast too soon and exhaust myself early on. He has taught me about hydration and stretching, diet and nutrition. He encourages me all along the way. He convinced me to run a 5K in the fall when I didn’t think I could do it. He continues to suggest other running goals.
Jesus does the same for us in life. He is our Shepherd, the One who cares for, guides, and protects us. He calls us His sheep, and He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27, NASB). The Lord promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8, NASB). His Holy Spirit within us is our constant Helper, Teacher, and Counselor (John 14:26).
Jesus lays down His life for us.
When David runs with me, he sets his personal goals and aspirations aside in order to help me. He doesn’t focus on his race; rather, he chooses to help me with mine. We are told in Philippians 2:3-4, NASB, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” David lives out those words every time we run together.
Jesus did that. He literally laid down His life for us (John 10:11, 15, 17). He went to the cross, enduring the shame and pain, because He knew what it would accomplish for us (Hebrews 12:2). He thought about us instead of Himself.
In the Christian life, it’s great to have people who come alongside us and remind us of Jesus. People who help us fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). Hopefully, as time goes on, we can do the same for others.
I cherish running with my husband. I love spending time with him. So too in life, the most beautiful part of our race is running it with Jesus. Once we cross the finish line, we receive an even greater prize—spending eternity in the living presence of Jesus.
Question: How are you experiencing the presence of Jesus running with you right now? Comment at the link below.
Susan Jane King