by Ken Rolheiser
Running with Dad and running with God

There is something joyful about running. A sad person walks. And the two kinds of running that are sad are running out of money and running away.

Everyone wants to be a runner: “I get runner’s high on my way to the fridge.” “I can’t remember the last time I did any running, but I’m jogging my memory.”

I remember running with my children. Some of the sweetest memories are running with a child who wants to be “like daddy”. 

I remember my young son running around the race track and being so far ahead of me that it took me a while to lap him. Then I really had to work hard to catch up again. I discovered by reversing my direction, I could run toward him more of the time. Running with your adult children has its own special meaning.

Grandchildren add their own beauty. My granddaughter said to me, “Let’s face it Grandpa, you’re basically old.” What sweet innocence! A little later when her younger sister had run on ahead far enough toward the playground, I challenged her to a race. I let her start early, then caught up and stayed just two steps ahead of her until we caught up to her sister.

God the Father wants to run with us. Since it was a little difficult to arrange that, God leveled the field by sending his Son in human form. Now we can walk with Jesus and run with God more easily.

Olympic runner Eric Liddle said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” The bible records instances of persons running to the Lord. On the resurrection morning Peter and the other disciple, likely John, got to the tomb first. 

In Mark 9:25 we see a crowd was rapidly gathering, to rush toward Jesus. The closest I have come to seeing people run to Jesus is attending the Rock Concert Jesus Christ Superstar. When the auditorium doors opened there was a rush of people heading for them. It felt more like a crush of people, and caution was suddenly necessary.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,” Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7. There are numerous references to the efficacy of running to Jesus: “When we run to him, he saves us.” Psalm 37:40. “I run the way of your commandments, since you have set me free.” Psalm 119:32. 

As parents and grandparents we still need to keep running the Good Race. If our children want to run with their parents, they need to know that we are in church on Sunday morning. Our grandchildren need to know that is true of their parents.

At some point God may ask us to run on ahead and get things ready for our children. It is a good race, and everyone can win! If our lives have purpose and direction, others will want to follow us.

I am reminded of two gas company servicemen checking meters in a neighbourhood. After finishing, the supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race back to the truck. As they arrived, the lady from the last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They asked her what was wrong. Gasping for breath, she replied "When I see two gas servicemen running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"

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