But then it was discovered that this dude straight up ran 20 miles. . . and then hopped on the bus til he got close to the finish line. He hid behind a tree and popped out when the leaders of the race got close and he rejoined to claim his "hard-earned victory". When he was caught, he got another 15 minutes, but this time it was 15 minutes of shame. His medal was revoked and he has been publicly embarrassed all over the news.
Amber Miller's story takes place much closer to home (for me at least). At nine months pregnant, she began the 26 plus mile race in Chicago. She and her husband actually ran half of the race together before they slowed down to a walk. . . when her contractions started! Amazingly, instead of calling it quits, she and her husband walked the second half of the marathon and finished in 6.5 hours. She then grabbed a bite to eat and went to the hospital to give birth to a healthy baby girl!
Its funny to me, but its also a good reminder. Rob Sloan cheated and he may have come out on top at first, but his victory was hollow. The medal didn't mean anything and, eventually, the truth came out. Now he is left with shame, regret, and embarrassment because he didn't have the integrity to finish with honor.
Amber Miller on the other hand finished nowhere near first place. But she pressed on, even in the face of huge obstacles. She finished the race well and even though she didn't arrive in first or anywhere close to that, we applaud her perseverance to finish well.
The apostle Paul tells us that life is a lot like a race.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. -1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Your life is like a race. There will be times when its easy to run like the beginning of the race or the times you're just in the zone with a runner's high. Like Amber Miller, there will be times when you face obstacles and challenges in the race. Life will throw you unexpected things whether its a sickness, financial worry, a friend's betrayal, or any number of things that get us down. Like Rob Sloan, there will also be times when you are tempted to cheat. Life will offer you many chances to get what you want by compromising your morals and breaking the rules.
The question is "Will you run the race to honor God and gain the crown He offers as a prize?" Will you be like Amber Miller and press on when life gets tough? Will you finish well despite obstacles? Will you endure pain and grief and through it all keep running for Christ? Or will you compromise? Will you take the easy way out like Rob Sloan? Because just as Sloan was caught, you can't trick God into giving you a medal.
I don't know about you, but these funny stories have reminded me to press on in life in a way that honors God even when things are difficult like Amber, because when we compromise like Sloan, we may have victory for a minute, but the truth will come out and bring with it shame and regret.
So in what ways has life been throwing you obstacles lately?
How are you being tempted to compromise? How have you compromised already?
What will it take for you to finish the race well?