Tina Odim is our guest blogger for this post. I hope you enjoy her poignant testimony!
Two weeks before running in the Philadelphia Broad Street Run this year, my Executive Pastor, Nicholas Smith noted that I was wearing a Broad Street Run shirt. My pastor Bishop David G. Evans asked me if I was ready. I said yes. Then he asked, “Even if it rains?” I replied yes. I told him running is like life. You’ve got to be ready to run in any kind of weather. Little did I know the lessons I would learn from this race.
Wouldn’t you know it rained on race day! Plastic rain gear was scattered all over the street. I was careful to watch were I stepped so I wouldn’t slip. It reminded me that as we travel through life, there are obstacles and detours we must watch for so we don’t make mistakes or backslide.
The year’s race had 40,000 runners. I’m not a fast runner so I was in the last corral. Just as I approached the start line, I looked up to wave at the camera when suddenly, I slipped and fell on my right knee. I quickly jumped up to keep from being trampled on and started running. I learned another lesson. Never take your focus off Jesus. If you fall, get back up and keep running! A race is like life; it requires faith, endurance, commitment and discipline.
I felt a little pain as I started running but the adrenaline of starting the race kept me going. I ran straight for the first mile. I was wearing a poncho but eventually took it off because it was starting to slow me down and I was getting hot. I didn’t want to do like some of the other runners and toss it anywhere. I laid my poncho on the sidewalk. This was another lesson learned. Just because someone trips you up doesn’t mean you should do the same thing to someone else.
Running is my therapy. It’s my time alone with God. I run, pray and talk with Him. One of my favorite running scriptures is Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. This scripture gives me strength not only when I’m running races, but in everyday life.
As I continued running the pain became so excruciating, I started walking more. Little did I know right before mile marker 8 a 25-year-old runner had collapsed and died at the hospital. Although a sad lesson, many in life will run this race with you and not finish.
I finished the race. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Afterwards I had to walk almost a mile to catch the subway. I was in agonizing pain. Fortunately, I caught a ride with a friend back to New Jersey. When I got home and took off my knee compression sleeve, my knee blew up to the size of a grapefruit. I went to urgent care and discovered I had a hairline fracture of my right knee.
So many people were amazed that I ran ten miles and finished the race. It was only God that enabled me to finish the race with a fractured kneecap. I was in a knee immobilizer for three weeks. Three weeks after that, I was back running another race. Jehovah Rapha is my Healer!
Hebrews 12:1 says, “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (NLT). So, what does it mean to “run the race set before us?” It means that as believers, we must stay strong in our faith, especially during trials and tribulations. There are many examples of men and women in the Bible who remained faithful despite what they were going through. We are urged to follow their examples and keep moving. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have remained faithful. This Christian life is a race. A race isn’t easy. Whatever you do, don’t quit. I encourage you to stay the course, remain faithful and finish the race!