The Race Isn't Over by Ashlyn Liddle

The Race Isn't Over
By Ashlyn Liddle

It's one of the toughest feelings I've ever experienced. We've all trained and worked for this season, and it was taken away so abruptly. No one ever underestimated how painful it was. No one ever doubted the hardship that it would cause. No one ever asked or wished for it to occur. No one wanted it to happen. Yet here we are, left without a chance to drive ourselves into PRs, records, or championships. Especially for those of us who are seniors, what hope do we have now? Believe me, I have had my fair share of low moments following this track season's cancellation.  As a senior, I am on the front lines of disappointment and heartbreak, along with many others.  It is painful and surreal.

But the race isn't over.

Perhaps instead of focusing on the negatives and difficulties of the current situation, lift your head up and take a look at the blessings that still surround. Even though our performances are on hold, what a blessing that I still have legs and strength to run! What a blessing that the consequences of this pandemic are that I get to stay within the comfort of my home and with my family!  What a blessing that I am able to do things that I simply didn't have time for before! Even though the circumstances are not ideal, there are always blessings in the pain. Envision this temporary trial as a race itself! The pain and discomfort are more than real, and it seems as though the end will never come. As we stand upon the same turf, we struggle and strive together. It takes each one of us individually to complete the race, and we must never give up.

The race is not over.

It can be easy to be angry at the results of the circumstances. It can be easy to be mad at ourselves, at others, or even at God. How could God allow my last high school track season to suddenly be taken away from me? Well, consider that it is God who gives and takes away. That may not sound very encouraging, but what if God is using this time to teach us something that we can't yet clearly see?  Most of us have heard the saying, "no pain, no gain", and we tend to use that as motivation to get through our training and strengthening. When the going gets hard, we think about how it will all pay off, and the time comes when that aching moment becomes a single speck compared to the feeling of triumph. Why not use that same motivation to help us get through our training now? How is this training you ask? It's painful, isn't it? How do we know that this trial is not something being used to mold us into better people? Yes, the molding hurts, but it is the hard things in life that make us better. The hardship that we go through now will result in our better welfare if we trust that God will get us through it. Like the feeling of accomplishing a goal in a race being far more memorable than the pain of training to get there, so also the pain that we feel now, though it may be forever remembered, will be incomparable to the greatness that is to come as we trust in God's planning over ours. He is working on your side and is present even in the midst of pain (Romans 8:18-"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us").

The race is not over.

Even when the times are lonely, and you feel as though you cannot go a step further, I am here to say that we will reach the finish. Even though I cannot fully explain why things are the way they are, my faith and trust that God sees how it will end, and that He works things out for my good, helps me to endure the hardship that He purposefully allows me to face. This pause on sports nationwide is only temporary, and if we can all muster up the guts and faith needed to get through, we will reach the finish line. But until then, just as you would in a race, do not give up or slow down, and fight hard to the finish. We cannot always control the circumstances, but Hebrews 12:1 says "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...", and just like the times when we place a foot on the line and prepare to give it our all, we also should do the same with every aspect in life.

The race is not over, so how are you going to finish?

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
~Jim Elliott