Pastor Mark’s Devotions, March 29

Marathon Mindset”

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1


Yesterday, Seattle’s Mayor, Jenny Durkan, said we need to have a “marathon mindset”. She said, “Fighting this Coronavirus will not be a sprint.” She maintained that we need to be in this for the long haul.

Dr. Thomas Inglesby, director of the John Hopkins Center for Healthy Security, warned that the U.S. is “still at the beginning” of the coronavirus outbreak. He outlined 5 conditions that he feels must be met before the country should consider relaxing social distancing practices.

He stated:

  1. When we see a state or region have numbers that go down over time,
  2. When we have diagnostics in place,
  3. When we have masks available for doctors and nurses who are putting their lives at risk to take care of sick patients,
  4. When hospitals are well prepared with equipment and resources,
  5. When the public heath systems are in place to start tracing or identifying individuals and their contacts like they do in Asia.

When all that is in place, Dr. Inglesby feels that it will be time to begin experimenting with lightening social distancing, one step at a time.

So, it continues to sound like we are all in this for the long haul. And we will continue to need to discover ways to persevere in a healthy manner. You might feel like you are doing fine. But if we are only in the second mile of a 26.2 mile journey, you had better make sure you find a pace, and a rhythm that is going to work for you. It’s at mile 20 that many people hit “the wall” and get in trouble. Are you beginning to feel signs of “cabin fever”? Time to look at your training regime.

Back in the day, I ran a couple, back to back, Marathons in Los Angeles. Another one of those bucket list items. I think there are a few lessons to be learned in preparing to run a long distance race that can be helpful in the long distance battle we are facing today.

In looking back, the most important reason I successfully completed those two races was because someone had my back! Dr. Don Drost was a member of my first congregation in San Bernardino. I knew him at church, but when we decided to run the marathon together, and train together, a deep, forever friendship developed. Without him, I never would have been consistent in my training. The camaraderie was invaluable. He lived across town. So, every morning, before sunrise, I drove to his house and we went for an hour run. On weekends, we went for extended runs and planted water bottles along the way. We developed a rhythm and pace with our bodies and in our friendship. We chatted about life, hopes, dreams and struggles along the way. When the day came that we finally crossed the finish line, there was an amazing celebration and a feeling of accomplishment that we shared together.

If we are going to persevere in the long run battle against Covid19, we will do well to have a partner. Who can you talk with, pray with, chat about ongoing developments, and share how the rest of your house is managing? If no one comes to mind, pray about it. Perhaps God will bring someone from memory that also needs a partner. No one ever does very well when they try to run the race alone.

The other elements in training for a long-distance run are fairly mundane but not to be overlooked. Get good sleep. HYDRATE! Eat well balanced meals and take in those carbs. Stretch before and after your runs. Have good running shoes. And remember to have fun!!

How can you translate those training essentials with the race you are in today? Perhaps it is as easy as tending to the four areas of our lives: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. There is a scripture that speaks to the importance of those four areas; “Let us love God (and unselfishly, ourselves) with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength”. If we can touch these four areas each day, it will give us much needed strength and endurance to not only get to the finish line but finish in good shape!

When you train, some days you will feel great and some days you will feel lousy. Somedays you can see real progress and some days you feel like you are going backwards. Don’t beat yourself up. BE KIND! If you need a day off, take it. Trust the process. You continue to take care of the basics – and the basics will take care of you. And always remember that God is ever present running next to you whether you recognize him or not!

Today is the Sabbath. Take your rest IN HIM. Stretch out. Drink a tall glass of water. Eat your greens. Go for a walk and ask God who that special partner might be. And perhaps you are that special someone for someone else.

God Bless You!

Shalom!  Pastor Mark 

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