It must have been in the early eighties when I was a little girl of around six years old. And here I was sitting next to my dad and my sister on the front row in church. We were on holiday at my aunts and uncles house in Zeeland, in the lower parts of our country. My mother was babysitting my younger brothers. And my three youngest sibblings, were’nt even born yet.
My parents had in general a pretty hard time letting this bouncy girl sit still during a sermon, too long for my lively legs.
That Sunday though was different. My eyes were drawn to the pastor on the pulpit who sketched the Jesus Follower in Hebr. 12. Running the race, leaving everything behind, fixing the eyes on Jesus alone and Run! A life long path, a challenging way, but with joy, which is set before us, and surely not only before us.
I can remember how happy I was that Sunday. I loved church that moment! I ate just one little peppermint during the whole sermon. How proud I was of myself. It was such a beautiful experience to be caught up in the story and my thoughts were fixed on Jesus. Jesus is someone to follow. Reachable.. Someone to aim for!
Chapter 12 is followed by chapter 11 of Hebrew were the cloud of witnesses are exposed. This is followed by the call: Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin, which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Little did I understand of the impact of this run, the challenges on this path, the Jesus follower.
These weeks are a reminder of those early childhood memories. And a renewed focus of running the race, without anything that slows me down and fixed with my eyes on Jesus alone. We had to make a few long term decisions what will have quite some impact on us as a family. Whether to move closer to the Roma villages where a big part of my heart beats faster or work remote and travel much more often.
Many years have passed, many things have happened since that Sunday, thirty years ago now, but the journey goes on and this beautiful message repeats itself when we keep running the race, with endurance, fixed with our eyes on Jesus alone.
Let’s run together!