This past Saturday, my husband, my son and I ran in the Greater Louisville Battlefrog Obstacle Course Race. Now what I absolutely don’t want you to do is read that and think I’m some kind of super athlete. Because I’m not. I was just following through on something that sounded like a great idea back in January when we were eating Pizza Hut and watching football. Anybody can compete, they said. If you can walk five miles you can finish the Battlefrog race. This one was three weeks after the 10 mile River Run. I figured I was good to go.
Well, yes it’s five miles. Through the woods. Up and down hills. Through creeks and mud. Then every so often they throw in some obstacle, like the Confidence Wall or the Delta Cargo Tower or the Wreck Bag Carry, or more mud, just to keep it interesting. But what makes this race different is that you are allowed, even encouraged, to help each other. And quite frankly, if my husband had not stuck with me, I wouldn’t have finished the course. He walked ahead of me, constantly giving me feedback. “Stay to the left. The mud’s not as deep. It’s slick there. Grab here to pull yourself up.” He gave me a boost when I was too short to reach the first foothold on the 8-foot wall, then he ran around to the other side, so I could grab his shoulder and not have to drop so far. He sacrificed his time and final ranking to make sure I reached the finish line.
Wow, what an object lesson.
In John 15 as Jesus is giving His last teaching before the cross He tells them plainly, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” On the other hand, if they abide in Him, and by extension, if we abide in Him, we bear fruit. Lots of it.
Abide is one of those words we pretend like we know what it means and we read over it. So I looked it up. It has a range of meanings.
1. To wait for – I waited for Jon to go ahead of me in the race. I wait to follow Jesus’s leading.
2. To withstand, to bear patiently – I had to get through some killer obstacles. Jesus is going to throw some challenges my way as well.
3. To accept without objection – Signing up for the race meant following the course laid out. If Jesus is Lord like I say He is, I follow where He leads.
4. To remain stable in a state – I didn’t follow Jon for a bit, then follow somebody else. By the same token, I need to stick with Jesus the whole way.
The Message translates abide as “joined with” and then elaborates, “the relation intimate and organic.” It was completely natural for me to trust Jon and look to him for help, because of our relationship. How much more naturally should I trust and follow Jesus?
See, I don’t run because I’m good at it. Far from it. Honestly, it was Wednesday before I could walk up and down steps without a lot of pain. Running always teaches me something, though. Always. In this case, it’s a lesson that will stick with me even longer than the mud. (It’s never washing out… Never.)
(And in case you were wondering, my son ran his own race, finished #28 in the killer 15-19 age group.)