This Ain’t no Beauty Pageant
A few days ago, the daughter of one of my dearest friends and one of our other resident runners, Vicki, put this cute little picture of her and her girlfriend after a run in the rain with the caption “This Ain’t no Beauty Pageant” on their Facebook page. They of course looked adorable with their hair all dripping wet and their fists pumped as if they were ready for some kind of fight. As I smiled and “liked” the post, I thought about how true that statement really is.
1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Paul is saying that the Christian life is hard, it takes hard work, self-denial and discipline. You don’t just get to jog around in your cute little running pants and short nylon top sporting tight abs glistening with sexy sweat. It takes diligent training and the discipline of Bible study, prayer and worship to get us across that finish line. He goes on to say in verses 26-27, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Just this last week our 17 year old son had yet another surgery to correct an issue from a birth defect. The surgery was performed by a doctor at a hospital 75 miles from our home and was only supposed to be an overnight stay. However, what was supposed to be overnight turned into three nights. The race was not what I was expecting and it got messy. Hair tangled and wet, mascara running, no cute jogging suit, just messy, ugly circumstances that weren’t supposed to happen. The timing was wrong, the situation was wrong, our legs were aching, (not to mention our backs after sleeping in chairs and on a love seat) our throats were parched and we wanted to say “enough already, I give up”! However, friends were praying and standing on the sidelines cheering us on and we crossed the finish line to the first part of that race three days late but still on time. They helped us push through the pain and finish. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1Th 5:11.
Hunched over, wreaking from 2 days without clean underwear, hair in a mess of tangles, and with remnants of at least one meal on my shirt we finally left the hospital. Our son was in a lot of pain and the next leg of the race looked daunting. After all we just finished the last one. Upon our arrival at home we found our 2 dogs covered in fuzzy stuff where they had removed all the innards of their latest stuffed toy and a refrigerator full of now rotting left overs. The kitchen table became the sorting area for meds and paperwork, special dietary instructions, gadgets that we would need to help him with his food (his jaw was broken) and whatever else was carried into the house from the car. We couldn’t hardly move and the last thing that I wanted to do was clean house after all I now had to figure out how to put a taco in a syringe so that he didn’t starve to death. Ugh!
Standing in the shower, I heard the Lord say, “Denise this ain’t no beauty pageant”. My heart began to smile as I answered back, “yes Lord, this ain’t no beauty pageant”. Life is hard and no where can I find the reference that says it would be anything but hard. I want it to say “thou shalt not have extenuating circumstances” but then I wouldn’t need HIM. I would run off with a high five for Jesus and proceed to forget all about the sacrifice He made for me. It is through all of this that I have learned to persevere. Hebrews 12 1-3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider HIM who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
I know that my race may not look like your race. Yours may be longer, more grueling and it may feel like you are running uphill all the time. “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” Ecc 9:11. Solomon knew that life would not be fair. BUT, it is not about how hard the race is or how long it takes to run, it IS about how we finish. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day − and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for HIS appearing.” 1Ti 4:7-8.
I don’t know about you but I would trade that beauty pageant crown for the crown of righteousness any day! It ain’t no beauty pageant, it is so much better and I won’t even have to come up with an awe inspiring answer like “world peace” to be declared the winner. Thank you Jesus that you have already won the race for me and your Word promises that I will run and not grow weary if my hope is in YOU!
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is 41:31. AMEN!