My son was fast, and he ran with a fast crowd. As a matter of fact, his entire track team was fast! In the ninth grade, Steven participated in the conference track meet, running the 1600 meters. During the third lap around the track, his shoe flew off into the air. Rather than stop, he just kept going. Then all his teammates and the crowd cheered as his sock started inching its way off and flapping with each step. All the cheering simply made him run faster, and he actually won the race.
“I knew everybody was watching me,” Steven explained. “It wasn’t just a race anymore; they were watching to see what I’d do. It made me go faster. It made me want to do better.”
All through our lives, we will notice friends, or “fellow runners” who have lost more than a shoe—they have lost their hopes, their dreams, and their will to finish the race. What will we do? What can we do? We can cheer them on by offering a timely word of encouragement and running alongside them shouting, “Come on, friend! Don’t give up! Don’t slow down! Keep going!”
Who knows, that friend may do more than simply finish the race. She may even take first place!
But what if you’re the one who’s lost hope in the race? Hear these encouraging words from God. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
And that’s not all. We have a cloud of witnesses cheering for us as well. Even though we may not hear them, the Bible tells us this: “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” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV). They’re not just spectators at the race, they are cheering you on! You go girl! Keep going even if you’ve lost your shoe.
Father, I’m tired today. I feel like I’ve lost a shoe in the race, but know I need to keep going. Help me to feel the cheering of the great cloud of witnesses surrounding me. And Lord, help me to be a cheerleader for my friends who need an extra word of encouragement today.
In Jesus’s name,