I was watching the Oklahoma City Marathon on television a couple years ago from my hotel room. I was not feeling well that day and my husband was running so I was hoping for a glimpse of him. I usually go to his races and drive ahead on the course so that I can encourage him along the way. Then I will drive to the finish line and wait for him to cross. In my mind I am thinking of his personal goal for the race and I'm watching the finish line clock hoping the best for my runner man.
The weather in Oklahoma City that day was not the best. The Oklahoma winds came "sweeping down the plains" and into the city, on this overcast day. I was listening to a former marathon runner talk about how days like this were deceptive to the runners. Because the wind was wiping the sweat from their bodies as quickly as it came, it may have felt to the runners as though less hydration was necessary. So they wouldn't drink as much water as they usually did because they felt alright.
The cameras would search the sea of runners until it found the man who was leading the race, looking strong and fast. And then they moved on to find the woman who was leading and she too was looking confident with each stride. Something happened though that changed that woman's day. Not too many miles from the finish, she suddenly stopped, wandered over to the curb and collapsed. How could this strong, experienced runner be finished? She didn't appear to have been injured. She had simply used all of her body's water reserve and had to stop. Where is the "Mike Potts" camera when you need it. Now I was concerned that my runner may experience the same thing. Was he careful and did he know to drink water even if he didn't feel thirsty? I was concerned, only briefly because I knew that he had prepared and wasn't one to take risks. He would walk if he needed to, and he was wise about his consumption of fluids. He finished the race, not at his estimated pace, but he finished and I was proud.
I'm no scholar nor am I a great theologian. I am in this marathon called life with you and I need water. But, I am not unlike the woman in the race who wasn't aware that she needed it until she came to a halt. When life seems to be going along at a comfortable pace, I keep running. Then a day comes that I realize I am running on an empty tank. God knows that about me, about all of us really and He waits at the curb to soften the fall. He promises in Isaiah 40:17-20 that he will not leave us thirsty. The Message puts it this way, "The poor and homeless are desperate for water, their tongues parched and no water to be found. But I'm there to be found, I'm there for them, and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty". I fall short most days by simply not asking for water. It's available to me in the same way the water stations are available for runners in a marathon. We just need to stop and drink.
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