This Sunday, May 7th is the annual Pittsburgh Marathon. Many churches across the city cancel services because they find it’s just too hard to get around on Marathon Sunday. But for over a decade, folks from our church have been out on the street before 6:00 AM, blessing the runners. The starting line is just a block away, and thousands of runners pass by on Sixth Avenue. If tens of thousands of runners and family members from all over the country can find their way here, so can we.
We pray with folks in small groups or one-on-one or over the loudspeakers to runners in their corrals. Many people are nervous about taking on so big a challenge. In the moments before the race, they’re anxious, seeking a higher power. Hearing words of blessing, grace, and peace is important to them.
Every year we see friends we prayed for in past years. Some tell how I had prayed that God would send them a following breeze, and just when they thought they couldn’t take another step, God had answered that prayer.
Many are thrilled just to find our bathrooms open.
Nadine from Ohio thanks us by bringing us cookies.
I try to ask, “What are you running for?” It turns out that many people run for God, for a loved one, or for a cause that matters to them.
But shouldn’t we all know what we’re running for?
Shouldn’t we all ask ourselves what drives me; what is it in life that I just have to have to know that I’m OK?
As good a thing as running is, one day, our knees will say, “Enough.” Over the course of our lives, we’ll all eventually have to give up the things we’re running for.
That includes running.
And so, if we run through life for the One who gave us our knees and legs, heart and lungs, in the first place, we will “run and not grow weary, we will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)