My friend Art finished the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday. He’s now accomplished this fete 26 times (one for every mile of the grueling course). This year he’ll run six different marathons around the country. I won’t tell you Art’s age, but suffice it to say, his commitment is impressive! Last year Art dragged me across the TCM finish line. I had a knee strain this year and couldn’t join him again. But today I’m remembering his faithfulness to see me through to the goal!
After I read the results in this morning’s paper I called Art and we had a good time remembering our adventure last year. Running 26.2 miles with a friend is probably the only way I could have done it. The weather in ’08 was horrid. It rained the first 11 miles and around mile 17 I developed a spasm in my right hip. Believe it: I wanted to quit every step of the next 9 miles! But Art kept me going. He coaxed and prodded and encouraged and pushed me when otherwise I would have given up. I finished the race – not with any record time, but with Art going every step beside me!
Art is more than a running friend. He’s also one of my most faithful prayer partners. Art prays for and with me, and without his spiritual strength and wisdom I know there would be times I’d fall short of God’s best. Art is a marathoner on the streets, and he’s a spiritual marathoner as well. I’m thankful for his partnership in both ventures. My relationship with Art reminds me how much we need the support of friends in all areas of our lives – prayer included. Jesus said that the prayers of “two or three agreeing together” have great power.
I encourage you to find an “Art” in your life – someone who will run with you with Jesus, and not let you quit along the way in your marathon relationship with God!