Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Relay


For a long time I have viewed the life of faith as a relay, 
the baton passed from one generation of believers to the next.

I love the depiction of it from the book of Hebrews, 
where a long list of heroes of faith
(spoiler alert: most of them didn't look all that heroic at the outset!)
is given in chapter eleven,
and then summarized in the final verses :

"Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary,
got their hands on what was promised.  
God had a better plan for us: 
that their faith and our faith would come together
to make one completed whole,
their lives of faith not complete apart from ours."

(Hebrews 11:39-40, The Message)

Then in the next verses, the beginning of chapter twelve, 
the author uses the language of the relay race--
those whose leg has already been run 
cheering the others on until the end.

One of my favorites finished his leg of the race this week.
Bob was one of the most faithful people I have ever met,
running with all his being to the very end
to introduce people near and far to Jesus.
He prayed as though he required it to breathe.
He was one of the founders of our church,
and he loved it fiercely.
He never had physical children, 
but no father ever took his role more seriously
than Bob took his role as a spiritual father
nurturing the next generation of believers.

How I will miss running with him.
But I'm so encouraged to know he sees the finish line
from where he stands cheering the rest of us on.