9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)
It was early on Sunday morning. 4:30 am when the alarm went off at my house. When I got downtown, a little before 6 am, there were people EVERYWHERE! Smiles were blooming like flowers in the Spring. Hugs were being handed out like a politician running for office. As we all stood at the starting line you could literally feel the electricity and enthusiasm. It was so much fun!
As the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon started the chatter between friends was constant, but it didn’t take too long before men and women, boys and girls of all ages, locked in and focused on the task at hand. The “work” had begun. For some it happened earlier than expected, for others it came later, but for most everyone, at some point in the race a monkey jumped on their back and they wondered if they would even finish. Thoughts of stopping came in waves. Aches and pains emerged with every step. What do you do when the finish line seems like it is a thousand miles away and your stride has dwindled to mere inches?
Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” I saw a couple of people who literally fell along the route, but I saw hundreds, if not thousands, whose confidence fell with a thud somewhere along that long road. I was listening in as I ran. Self-designated Cheerleaders were lining the road yelling, “Great job runners! You can do it!” Buddies, who were struggling right alongside of their friend, mustered encouragement time and time again: “Come on. We can make it to the next water station. You’re doing great! Don’t stop! Keep moving!”
As I ran on Sunday morning and thought about all of the affirmation and encouragement that was being shared by so many people I thought about the life that we would all go back to once the race was over. Everyday life is so much tougher than any run I’ve ever ran! The problems are persistent. The trials are a trail that seems to never end. It’s not perspiration, but tears that drench our faces. We need encouragement. As we go through grueling stretches of life we desperately need folks to come alongside of us and say, “You can make it! I’m right beside you!” I want to be a cheerleader for someone today. I want to be that one Solomon wrote about who is there to pick up a brother or sister when they fall. It’s time to lace ’em up and head out the door. Use me Lord!