If the distance could be measured over my lifetime, I and my mother have probably walked the course of a marathon throughout hospitals around the country. There have been hills to tackle, long, empty barren stretches where not a soul meets our eye, and the crowded places where many have been there to cheer us on. There have been those moments when we've almost tired to the point of quitting, then rounded a corner to see a familiar face to encourage and walk with us for a while. There have been those who have come just when we needed water most, and those who have—through tougher love—exhorted us to stay the course, finish the race, and finish well.
We find ourselves once again in a familiar place, the place where our endurance is running low long about mile 23.2. The place where so much is behind us that should be encouraging, but instead those last 3 grueling miles fill up our horizon with daunting uncertainty. Our energy is low, our bodies are tired, our minds are hazy. We stumble only to find that here is where the "marathon chasers" have been purposefully stationed, those who are surrounding us to cheer us on at such a time as this. We are not alone. When our patience is wearing thin and we've reached the point of wanting to be done but not caring how we will be done, when we've wearied of making any more decisions however small, it is then and there that someone is stationed to remind us of the simplest of profundities: that we need only put one foot in front of the other for a while longer.
The cloud of witnesses is so great. The encouragers, the comforters, the reminders. Yes, our endurance is tested, but oh the sweet grace of having friends recall to our weary minds that we need not worry about how the race will be finished but that we have a finisher that will carry us through to the end. We are blessed indeed.
Hebrews 12:1 & 2