In a bid to educate our kids to the wonders of movies from the 80’s and 90’s, we just introduced to them a favourite movie of ours…Cool Runnings. It was a success, they loved it, and we loved watching it again! It is a heart warming movie about a team from Jamaica who strive to train and compete in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, running a bobsled.
It is a hilarious movie, watching 4 very unique Jamaicans come together, figure out how to even operate in winter, and how to work effectively together as a team. They learn how to walk on ice, how to run the sled, how to jump in (with all the graceful coordination needed for an Olympian), they even learn that they can actually get through the day without a hot water bottle! They learn how to handle (or not to handle as it seems) racial tension of being a team from the tropics, competing in a winter game and so being seen as the underdog’s. And the jeers from people who don’t think they deserve to even be there. They borrow gear, and learned very quickly the ‘science’ of bobsledding. Even the coach is on his own journey of redeeming himself (on the inside) from cheating and losing medals many many year prior. This is a movie about being true to yourself, working hard, being strong and courageous in the face of a seemingly impossible task, and relying on, and working with, each other.
Despite all odds, they qualified and trained hard for the final. During the final, where the glimpse of medals are in their sight, a nut comes lose setting the whole bobsled off balance. The sled crashes and slides to a stop, with the finish line in view. In a heart wrenching moment (that is still able to bring a slight tear to the eye all these years on), they pick themselves up, lift up the broken sled, and carry it over the finish line. The crowd (including many who said they couldn’t do it, and jeered at them for not deserving to be there), start clapping as they walk their broken sled across the finish line. They didn’t win a medal, but they finished the race, went further than they could have ever dreamed, and wore their country colours with pride. This was the start of a journey for Jamaica, who still compete in bobsled competitions at the Winter Olympics – in the year 2000, the Jamaica bobsled mens doubles team and the women doubles team both won gold at the World Push Championships in Monaco. (https://www.jamaicabobsled.com/legacy)
Run the race of life, run it well. Run it with God when you feel unable to run. Run it with mentors, family and people you love – sometimes you need to allow others to carry you, sometimes you will be the one to carry them. And when you crash, work together to pick up your sled, and carry the darn thing to the finish line. Appreciate your support crew…those in life who love you and applaud you for encouragement. Train like you have never trained…fill your mind with good things, always learning, always praying, always with the big prize in mind. Run the race with pride, courage, confidence and in the knowledge of the One you are running for, and with. It is because of Him, Jesus that we are able to run, and have Heaven to run for!
I love comparing scripture with The Message paraphrase, as it brings a new perspective to what I am reading. I have 2 scriptures that I immediately think of when it comes to running a race, and finishing – whether it is finishing to win, or finishing to simply finish!
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV).
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (The Message).
This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, who began AND finished this race we are in. The result is known…Jesus has already conquered death, victory is ours through HIM. The minute he rose from the dead, the outcome of the race was sealed…HE WON! We simply need to run it to share that fabulous revelation with others, so they can know the outcome of the race is already victory!
When we find ourselves flagging, and not feeling like we are running very well, lets get back to the Bible, prayer and nurture those relationships of people who are our cheer-squad. Taking time to re-align our minds and re-direct our energy to things that really matter will help us gain the motivation to carry on the good fight and to pick up the pace and run!
Father in Heaven,
Thankyou for running the race with us. Thankyou that you have begun and finished the race, and through your death on the cross the outcome is sealed. Thankyou that through YOU we can have victory…if not right now, victory for the future. Help us to trust you. Help us to run this race of life with confidence, pride and commitment. Help us to not lose perspective of the goal in our sight. And if need be, help us Lord to pick up our sled and carry it to the finish line. Surround us with people who will encourage us, carry the load, and not pull us down – and help us to be that uplifting person to others. Give us motivation and energy to have perseverance and courage as we run this race with YOU and our loved ones. Allow us to be a positive influence on others as they run, and give us opportunity to share your goodness and the good news of Heaven with everyone we meet.