Living the Christian life is not easy. Acts 14:22 says we will go through many trouble, affliction, hardship and sufferings to enter the kingdom of God. We are running a tough race. We need to come alongside one another and help one another to focus on Jesus.
Many years ago, at a Special Olympics in Seattle, nine runners were in the blocks, poised and ready to spring forth at the sound of the gun.
It looked to all the world as though this was a normal race. But it was not. This was a race of a different kind. It was a special Olympic race, a race for the physically or mentally disabled.
The stand was filled with people sitting at the edge of their chair, anticipating the moment of excitement. When the starter fired the gun in an instant, the nine runners all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with the pleasure of just running the race to the finish line and win. However about 25 meters down, one runner tripped and fell, sprawling headlong down the track and began to cry.
The other eight contestants heard the cry. They slowed down. Looked back. Then they all turned around and everyone of them went back and picked up their friend. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said: “This will make it better.” They picked their friend up. They said, “Let’s run together.” Then all nine of them linked arms and together they ran, hand in hand to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood and the cheering went on for several minutes.
Brothers and sisters in Christ. Yes, God has given us the grace to run this race, but He wants us to encourage one another to run. We need one another. Because we are all sinners saved by grace, we are not perfect. We do encounter difficulties and challenges in our spiritual pilgrimage which in one way or another affect us all emotionally and spiritually. As a result, we are being ‘disabled’ to run the race ourselves. We do need to hold hands and encourage one another to run together to the finish line.
The Christian life is not just about winning the race for ourselves. The Christian life is about helping one another to win, to finish the race, even if it means ‘slowing down’ and ‘changing our course,’ i.e. to be more understanding; and to give people a little room to make mistakes while they are in the process of changing and growing in Christ. Let us help one another to run this race to the finish line.