It was a perfect day. 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The blue above contrasted with the cornucopia of color, vibrant energy, and thousands of people around me on the National Mall in Washington D.C. From the air I imagine it looked like a very busy colony of colorful ants. I was at mile 11 on the Marine Corps Marathon route that our daughter Katy was running.
Although she’s run many half-marathons in different states, this was her first full and training for it had been difficult (What an understatement – like ANYONE training for a marathon has it easy!).
I had gotten her split time at 6 miles and she was on pace. I peered over heads and around little kids as the runners kept streaming past me by the side of the road. I kept craning my neck, looking so hard for the bright teal t-shirt I knew she was wearing. I felt overcome with emotion – hopes and dreams for, and pride in this precious daughter of mine.
Is this a tiny bit of what our Heavenly Father feels as He watches us running our race of faith? Is He picking us out of the crowd, fully aware of the miles when it’s going to be harder to keep putting one foot in front of another?
Sometimes proudly pointing, like “That’s my boy! That’s my girl!”, and other times yelling, “You’ve got this because you’ve got Me!! You’re not alone!”
We are all runners. We are all cheerers.
We all have hard races to run and we need each other.
As cheerers we get to be the megaphone of God for a world full of weary marathoners.
Sunday I had the opportunity to be a cheerer, as embarrassingly evidenced here: IMG_8597
I knew that miles 19-22 would be the hardest for Katy and so I got to jump on the course and run with her for that stretch. Just like last year it was she who ran alongside me, and John who cheered, and friends who prayed and supported.
I got to be the sign-holder and the picture-taker and the screamer at the finish line on Sunday. And when Katy came up that last tough hill into sight, approaching the Iwo Jima Memorial at the finish line I had no shame. I went crazy jumping, screaming, crying, waving.
And somehow above the voices of thousands of others, she heard, she turned, and found me. She smiled and waved and as she passed me and ran to the finish line there was this picture – the bright turquoise runner in the middle of the frame – tiny in the grand scheme of things, but unmistakeable to her earthly parents and her Heavenly Father.
Today, if you’re in the midst of a hard leg of your race, listen closely. If you do, you’ll hear the sound of your Father who is crazy about you, and can’t take His eyes off you. He’s cheering you on.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
And if possible, consider who you might be a cheerer for today.