Hitting the Wall

“Come on, 1424, you’ve got this! You can do this!”

Tasha Genck Morton / 9.13.23

This reflection originally appeared in Daily Grace: The Mockingbird Devotional, Vol. 2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)

Many packages of cookies, a number of pounds, one kid, and a graduate degree ago, I ran a marathon. It wasn’t pretty. I had never done track, cross country, or running sports, and was always much more comfortable on ice skates than on my own two feet.

In a marathon, mile 20 is called “the wall.” The idea is that from mile 20 through the finish (26.2), it is mostly psychological. You have to find it in yourself to push through to the end. I hit the wall incredibly hard. I was hurting all over and exhausted. I had nothing left in me.

But around the same time, the crowds grew thicker. There were more people cheering. A random stranger started cheering for me by my race number: “Come on, 1424, you’ve got this! You can do this!”

I never fully understood the power of Hebrews 12:1-2, which I had written on my racing shirt, until this moment. At mile 24.3, a complete stranger gifted me the ability to finish that race. I could pretend it had been in me all along, but it wasn’t. The power to finish came from outside of me. Just like our faith comes from outside of us. It comes from Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”

We are all running our own crazy races in life. “Hitting the wall” is inevitable, whether it comes in the form of a health or financial crisis, unmet expectations, the death of a loved one, or something else. As we find ourselves slogging through a long, seemingly impossible race, we realize that we do not run alone. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, whether they be random strangers or close family and friends. They remind us of Jesus, who gives us the gifts of faith and life. And through the cross, he has already won the race — for all of us. 

subscribe to the Mockingbird newsletter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *