This past weekend I did something I didn't think I could do again. My dear friend and fellow FPer, Pam, and I ran a 5K together. I won't tell you we won. We didn't. I won't even tell you we ran a great time. We didn't. But we did run the race that both of us were, or at least I was, more than a little apprehensive about completing.
The weather could not have been more delightful. It was cool, but not too cold. The warm sun elevated the temperature enough to thaw our toes and nose. It was an absolutely marvelous December morning! The sidelines were full of cheering crowds. Clapping. Arms waving. Cheers of "Go, Go, Go". (It is possible that the crowds were just in a hurry for us to pass so the Annual Christmas Parade could begin, but the encouragement was welcome just the same.) But the very best part of the race was having a running partner!
Pam's continual encouragement is what made the race doable for me. We talked a bit. We laughed a bit. We slowed down for each other...OK, she slowed down for me. We kept each other going.
Down the first hill. Confidence. Back up another. Urging. Marking our distance. Reassurance. Simultaneously grabbing our cups at the water station. Refreshment. And finishing. What a great feeling to finish something you aren't even sure you can begin! All along being lifted up and encouraged by a fellow runner, a fellow sojourner. All the way to the finish line.
So it should be no surprise that this encouraging business is of HIS design! And it is not just for running a 5K race. It is for losing the weight. It is for being disciplined to study the Word. It is for tackling the job hunt. It is for facing a dire illness. It is for waiting for the right time or the right thing or the right person. Encouragement. It is for living the life.
Give it. Receive it. All the way to the finish line.
Romans 1:11-12 "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."
1 Thessalonians 5:11"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
P.S. By the way, Pam and I did outrun one of the younger ladies.(so Pam, do I tell them she was six?)