The answer is that we all must run, whether old or young, whether sick or healthy. And this is possible for the sick and senile because the race is run with the heart, not the legs, and the fight is fought with the heart, not the fists. It is a race and a fight not against other athletes, but against unbelief. It is possible for the aged and weak to win this fight because the fight is a fight against lost hope, not against lost health.
Here’s the biblical evidence for this. In 1 Timothy 6:12 Paul says to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession” The fight is a “fight of faith.” It is not a fight to get out of bed, but to rest in God.
It is not a fight to keep all the powers of youth, but to trust in the power of God. The race is run against temptations that would make us doubt God’s goodness. It is a fight to stay satisfied in God through broken hips and lost sight and failed memory. The race can and may be run flat on your back. In fact, it may be run and fought better by the paralyzed than by the able and seemingly self-sufficient.
…Finishing the race means not giving up the hope of the gospel. It is a race against hopelessness, not against flawlessness.
When we cheer on the diseased or aging runners who run their final laps in hospital beds, what we are really saying is, “Do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35) The finish line is crossed in the end, not by a burst of human energy, but by collapsing into the arms of God. And let us not forget: In the Christian race, we do not finish alone. We finish together. It is part of the rules. “Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13)”
My mother finished her race and "collapsed into the arms of God at the age of 89 on September 13th, 2013. This happened to be her and my pop's 70th wedding anniversary. Her family came around her in her last days and she did not finish her race alone. I wanted to share this short excerpt from my mom's eulogy that my youngest brother gave at my mom's funeral services on the 27th of September.
"Thank you for coming today to help us honor and celebrate the life of our Mother,
Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Aunt and friend, to support her Husband, our Pop –
but most of all to thank the Lord for a life redeemed and well lived and to be reminded
that eternal life means that there is more life to come after we die, a life characterized
by the resurrection life and body of Jesus Christ. God has not abandoned Mom, but He
promises because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that she will be made like Him,
forever experiencing the fullness of life that is called eternal life and is available to all of
us through faith in Christ. Our Mom is in the hands of God and there is no better place
for her to be.
Until we see her again, we mourn our great loss but celebrate her GREAT gain. As
Proverbs 31:31 says “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her
praise at the city gates.”
I hope this will encourage someone out there who is having a hard time running. Keep the faith. Keep looking ahead to the Hope we have in Christ. Keep acknowledging God’s goodness to you every day. Blessings on you…