It’s apparent he outweighs her by hundreds of pounds as she stands there, straw hat tipped toward the ground as if she’s praying. With her hand resting on his neck, they wait for the signal to go. They’re quite a pair. He’s all quivering muscle and long hoofed legs. She’s a wisp of beauty confident and courageous.
This is no ordinary moment. Preparation and practice have increased their strength. Endurance is the name of this race. She bounds high in the saddle. The shot rings out, and they’re off. It’s almost a mile to the finish line. It takes less than two minutes to fly over pasture, through trees and across the pond. She rounds the back side gaining the lead and time slows.
I’ve never seen this before. It’s exhilarating to behold. I lose sight of them as they head down to the pond. Holding my breath I wait near the finish wondering how this is going to end. Bounding up from the low place, his neck stretches out long, legs reaching for more and more ground. She hunkers low, hair flying, urging him forward.
As she passes by I am stunned, and time stood still. The noise around me faded to a dull buzzing. Like Good Friday’s torn veil, God pulled back the curtain and I was overwhelmed. Never have I seen a more radiant smile than that girl’s. Her face all unadulterated peace, joy, and love rolled up in a big smile. It was one holy second.
As I near the fence to get a clear view of the finish, he’s there. I have an inkling he’s been there all along watching, waiting, ready to come to her aide if she needs him. He’s taken every step of the race with her. Even when she can’t see him, he’s there. He gives strength and courage she never knew she had. Winning or losing isn’t the point. All that matters is crossing the finish line.
In the silence of my drive home I wonder, “What just happened?” But there’s no way to file this experience neatly away. No way to capture in a photograph what I saw. Once in while the Sacred is so clear you can hardly catch your breath and it takes a few days or maybe a lifetime to grasp what it means.
This enough journey seems to be taking forever, and I yearn to ride free like the girl on the red horse. Face beaming with the glow of His glory, hair flying back without a care in the world. Entering the cocoon of enough almost three years ago has me wiggling with desire to stretch my wings.
It reminds me lessons learned take time, maybe a lifetime. There are moments I find myself riding free and others leave me lying flat on my back lungs gasping for air. Fear creeps in as a climb back up into the saddle, and head towards the finish line.
A great cloud of witnesses cheer me on, and all the while the Father is close. He’ll not leave, nor give up on me. One day as I near the finish line He’ll be running along side me, and I’ll see what I couldn’t along the way. How God has used every single moment, mess-up and victory to birth freedom in me. This is an endurance race with a glorious prize at the end. I can’t forget that… must never forget it.
The youngest niece and I ride home from a night out. I attempt to wrap Holy into words that might make sense to her. “I can’t explain it,” I say as tears well and spill down my cheeks.
She breathes deep, “Aunt Stac, I think you saw God today.”
Wisdom springs forth from the lips of the youngest, and she’s right. Because no matter our race, there are times it seems long, too long. We wiggle and wrestle with the desire to be complete, but there is still work to be done. Still baggage to be cast off and sin to untangle. So we keep running, praying for moments we might get a glimpse of Glory.
Do you know? This is the only race worth running. The only finish sure to reveal who we are and whose we are. So let’s run!
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!–Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message