First Things First

I have much to write about this week regarding the ING Georgia Marathon I completed on Sunday. However, before I write about my race I want to give thanks and glory to the Lord God Almighty.

As many of you know, two weeks before the race I severely injured my right hamstring. As a result of that injury I was unable to complete the final two crucial weeks of my 18-week training program. The physical impact was great. The psychological impact of that injury, however, was even greater. Psychologically I was close to sidelining myself from the race altogether.

In order to overcome the mental barrier I had built in my head I tried to loosen my hamstring with a morning jog on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Each morning I came home with a very tender hammy. Thus, in the back of my mind was the subversive thought that I might not be able to complete the run.

Now to the reason why I want to give my Father thanks and glory for completing the marathon.

On the last night of the revival at Taylorville Baptist Church last week, I spent some time kneeling at the altar. While doing so, my hamstring wrenched rather deeply, which caused me to question once again whether or not I should run. While kneeling before the Lord I made this consecrated request: “Lord, I want desperately to run in this race. The only way I will be able to finish is if you empower me to do so. If you will enable me to finish this marathon, I promise to give You all the praise, glory and credit for the accomplishment.”

Move forward to Sunday. As I crossed the finish line I raised my hands to the heavens and said, “Thank you Lord. To your name be the glory!”

Yet there is more.

While praying at the altar at Taylorville, the Lord reminded me of a meaningful verse that He had given me in preparation for the revival. The verse is in Isaiah 57:15, and it reads,

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

In addition to being my theme verse for the revival, Isaiah 57:15 would become my theme verse for the marathon. I would quote and re-quote that singular sentence throughout the race. Saturday night I quoted the verse just before falling to sleep. The next morning it was the first thing on my mind when my alarm sounded at 4:00 AM.

I quoted Isaiah 57:15 at the start of the race. I quoted it several other times during the race. When I was tired, I would say, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up…” When my hammy would start to twinge, I would repeat, “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up…”

The best part of the run came for me somewhere between miles four and five. It is usually at this juncture the adrenaline of the race starts to wear off. With that thought cascading through my head I started to wonder how my hammy would hold up when the adrenaline was worn off. I started to question when my hamstring would tighten up so much that I could not finish the race. While wondering when the pain would come, the Lord placed this calming thought in my head:“Ryan, think of all the people who are praying for you right now. There are so many people praying for you at your church and in your family. You have nothing to fear. I am in control. Just run and I will take care of everything else.”Wow, you have no idea how empowering of a thought that was for me. It would be a safe underestimation to say I was set free from all my mental barriers at that point. The mental block was broken down and moved out of the way.

My hammy cramped for just a few strides at mile 14. Fear struck at the core of my brain. Yet again, the Lord return to say, “Run, Ryan, I will take care of everything else.”

Make sure you get this last thought before I close today’s blog. It was the Lord who empowered and enabled me to start and finish the marathon on Sunday. It was the Lord who gave me the strength. It was the Lord God Almighty who helped me overcome all the obstacles that were before me. And, it is the Lord, my God, who deserves all the credit.

I can say with 100% assurance I ran the ING Georgia Marathon for the glory of God!

Tomorrow I want to talk about the spiritual aspect of running 26.2 miles.

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