Summary: We are to neither run wild without direction, like a man running with poor eyesight, nor are we to look back at a past we cannot change, instead we are to live our life forward.
When I was a high school kid, one of the sports I competed in was Track and Field. We had a great track team and usually won our track meets by a large margin. One of the great assets we had was in the 100 yard dash, we had the kid that was the fastest kid in the whole league. His name was Andy. As a result of Andy’s speed, we always won the 100 yard dash.
This was good news for the school, but, not such good news for me. You see, Andy was the fastest kid in the league, but that also made him the fastest kid in the school, and guess who was the second fastest kid in the school - that would be me.
I was a guaranteed second or third place every time I ran the 100. It was a drag.
So, the coaches decided that since they had a guaranteed win in the 100 with Andy, they would pull me to do the low hurdles. Now, if there is a race that will injure a runner every single time they run, that would be low hurdles. The low hurdles, at least in my mind, was a 330 yard extended gauntlet of pain. I was not thrilled, to say the least.
So, I decided in my 16 year old adolescent mind, that if I “lost” my race in the low hurdles, then my coaches would put me back in the 100 yard dash. THAT plan didn’t go so well. After I lost my first hurdle race, the coaches went nuts, because, well, it was obvious that I purposely lost.
This went on for a few of track meets, with me trying to look like I was winning, as I was really trying to lose, but I would end up winning most of the time anyway. I tried every way I could think of to lose without looking like I was trying to lose. I tried stepping on every hurdle, I tried getting hung up on each hurdle, I tried a late start, nothing worked.
So the coaches sat me down for a little “talk” about my performance in the hurdles. It turns out they were very aware of my attempts at failure. During our “talk” I agreed to start trying to win my hurdle races and the coaches agreed to put me back in the 100 yard dash. Then, one of the coaches bragged that If I ever won the 100 yard dash, then I wouldn’t have to run the hurdles any more. Everyone knew, I didn’t stand a chance in winning against Andy.
At our next track meet, I was delighted to be back in the 100 yard dash, since I thought it was the most exciting of all the races I could run. Well, the time arrived for the 100 yard dash. I got into my lane and settled into the blocks. The gun sounded and we were off. I had a good start and I was running neck and neck with a guy from the opposing team for awhile with Andy out front. Soon, I outpaced the other runner and it was just like old times with me in second place and Andy in first place.
Then, just before we crossed the finish line, something happened in a split second, but though it happened in a split second, it was like slow motion as I experienced it. Andy glanced my way, gave me a wink and...just stopped running. Andy crossed the finish line in second place. Me, I crossed the finish line in first place.
To this day, I have not had to deal with the menace of the low hurdles.
Let me note this about running a race.
After a race is run, one can analyze the race that was run and think about what had happened during the race and what could have happened different during the race; One can wish this happened during the race, and one can wish that happened during the race - but the fact is, after the race is run, the race is over and no amount of analysis is going to change the outcome of the race.
The time to think about the finish line of a race is not when the race is over, but before the race is finished.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are all in a race, we are all running the race of our life. We all will finish the race we are in. There will be a time when our race will be over. The time to consider the finish line of our race is now, not when our race is over.
I am not speaking of living a life without regret, instead, I’m speaking of living a life for what will be. See, the fact is, we all have a past, some of which we would rather not talk about, and some of which we wish had never happened….we have a past as we live in a sinful world, and we are sinners.