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Track and Field

TRACK and FIELD…is unlike almost every other sporting competition. Most involve teams, but there are exceptions for individual competitors. And while there are team competitions in track and field such as the relays, for the most part it is a very individualized ‘mano a mano’ competition! Even in the relay races it boils down to this, each runner challenges the one in front or close behind them. Each one is seeking the same goal; moving the baton around the track in the shortest time possible by crossing the finish line ahead of all other competitors.
So much individual training goes into preparation for the races, as well as the field events. Long arduous hours of sprinting, lifting, running and refining techniques are required…not to mention the mental and psychological training and race strategy! Mind over matter is so prevalent in track. Athletes’ abilities to push through the limits of physical body limitations is enormous. Hard work, perseverance, discipline, endurance, determination-all in!!! Coaches are there to train you; and there are race judges who determine the outcomes.
At the beginning of this track season, Annie, our youngest granddaughter, who loves track, was told there might not be enough girls to field a team. A heavy number of talented seniors had graduated last year leaving the numbers depleted. This past weekend, she, a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen, in spite of several injuries, competed in and showed well at the TAPPS 3A track meet in Waco. They had qualified for four events. She set two school records with stress fractures in both feet (her 400 meter dash and the anchor for her 400 meter relay). Last week before State, I asked her where recently she had seen God provide an undeniable blessing in her life. Without hesitation she said that it was what He had done in and through each of these lady Christian athletes over the course of the season. The glory was all His, she said. And that was before even seeing what He would do at the State Meet.
These young ladies learned a great deal about themselves, the Lord’s faithfulness and about community. Here is what I took away from this.
Life is simply one spiritual track meet; some sprints, overcoming hurdles, long, long tiring races, disappointment, joy and more.
Paul tells us; “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Cor 9:24).
What obstacles do you face today? Have you disciplined yourself to stand the tests and trials that ensnare you, that try to defeat you? Paul could relate to you here also. “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
Every runner makes sure that nothing can restrict competing at the highest level; the limited clothing, even down to the shoes. Hebrews addresses this very well.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (vss. 12:1,2).  VICTORY…in capital letters!
You see, Today we are to set our eyes on the prize of That Day. You can’t wait until you are in the blocks waiting for the gun to sound. Our race is won in the long hours of training, not just showing up. Paul and these Covenant athletes will tell you it is all worth the cost. They would exhort each of us to obey the Coach, the Spirit of God; for He alone knows how glorious the joy of eternal victory, the crown, is to us. Let’s each finish like these ladies did this year and like the Apostle Paul. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” 
(2 Tim. 4:7,8).
Oh, by the way; these young ladies are really pumped about the possibilities for next year’s track season!! They all return, with joy in their heart and convinced God will do even greater things in 2017. And, Lord willing, they will have a cloud of witnesses…well (at least two, Gami and me) to cheer them on!
Copyright 2016
Bill C. Dotson
Scriptures are from the New King James Version

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