Monday, July 13, 2015

Running The Race Of Life (Trina Cornell)

Trina is one of my heroes! We have been on many mission trips together in Honduras and I've grown to love and admire her. She's such a wonderful example, WCS has tried several times to persuade her to teach for us. Trina is a newlywed and teacher in St. Louis. I was blessed to stay with Trina and her husband, Bob, when I spoke in St. Louis in the fall of 2012. Pray for me in Vietnam!

When I started dating my now-husband, I learned something very quickly – running is one of his favorite hobbies.  I started running with him for a time, using it as a chance to spend more time with him.  (After we were married in 2011, my running shoes started gathering dust!)  In the time since we have met, he has run eight full marathons – a feat that continues to amaze me, as he adds more miles to his total!

Little did I know, preparing and training for a marathon takes a great deal of time and patience.  The process in which runners engage truly is what it is – a process.  Bob started training for his recent marathon four months ago, varying between short runs, long runs, rest days, and specific runs (focusing on hills, speed, and other aspects of running).  He keeps himself properly hydrated, with plenty of Gatorade and water, and never pushes himself harder than he can handle.  He keeps a journal, full of notes from his runs each day.  This process has worked for him several times over, and has prepared him for his most recent race – in Williamson, West Virginia.

For those of you who do not know, Williamson, West Virginia, is a small town on the most eastern border of Kentucky and its home state.  It is surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, and it is also the home of the story of the Hatfields and McCoys.  It took 9.5 hours to drive there from Saint Louis, Missouri – three hours of which involved parkways, winding roads, and quite the scenic trip.  We arrived on a Thursday in preparation for Bob to run on the following Saturday.  As part of his process, Bob took it easy Thursday and Friday – no running, lots of relaxing, and carb loading for dinner.  

Early Saturday morning, I drove Bob to the starting point of the race, a little less than an hour before it began.  We said our goodbyes, and I commenced to waiting – he had told me to plan on a four and a half to five hour wait for him to cross the finish line.  We were staying in the small town of Logan, West Virginia, about 40 minutes from Williamson, so I went back to our hotel – to wait in the air conditioning!

Before leaving for Williamson, I packed a cooler, full of snacks and water, just in case Bob needed anything when he finished.  He told me to meet him in downtown Williamson at the Coal House, one of their storied landmarks.  Bob chose not to take his cell phone with him – and with over 2,000 people running this race, I feared it would be tough to find him once he finished.  I arrived in Williamson around noon Eastern time; after I parked the car, I went through downtown to try and spot Bob.  He was not at the Coal House, so I kept walking, hoping to run into him along the way.  As luck would have it, I saw him walking toward me, Gatorade and water in hand.  He was truly a little worse for the wear – after running for five hours, he could not have looked any better!  I quickly got him to the car and started back toward Logan, with Bob resting in the passenger seat.

As we pulled up to our hotel, Bob leaned over to me and said, “Thank you for taking care of me when I need you.  I love you!”  As he said these words to me, I was reminded of Hebrews 12.  The writer of this book spends all of chapter 11 talking about the biblical heroes of faith – all that they endured for the sake of God and His plans for them.  Hebrews 12 begins with:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses in the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.  Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (NLV)

The lives that our Lord has set before us are the “races” He has put in place for us.  As Bob trained for his most recent marathon, the Lord puts His people through their own training.  As James 1 says, we can “count it all joy” when we face trials of many kinds, because we know that we will develop perseverance – the strength to carry on with each step that we take.  

Not only does He teach us perseverance through our life experiences, He runs our “races” with us.  Each and every day we face, the Lord stands ready to see us through it.  Constant contact with Him through prayer sustains us every minute of every day; knowing that He hears our words brings us great comfort and encouragement.  

With Bob’s precious words at the end of the race, he reminded me of the love of our Lord.  At the end of our toughest times, as well as our greatest times, He is there at the end, waiting to take us in His arms and know His peace – the peace that passes all understanding.  Philippians 4:6-7 says:

“Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in the Christ Jesus.”

He is our coach…our trainer…our sustainer…and our Lord.  Let Him coach you through your “race” – your life – and He will never steer you wrong.  

God bless, Steve Luke 18:1 E-mail me at

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