I ran cross-country in high school and college. I was never a great runner. If I pushed it, I could be a middle of the pack runner. One day I decided to enter a 10K run sponsored by Michigan Tech. University in Houghton, Michigan. I had done all my running in Grand Rapids at Cornerstone University. That area is basically flat-land. We ran roads and golf-courses. I was running a few miles each day and felt ready for the new adventure.
I was not ready! The Houghton/Hancock road course was up and down hills. I did o.k. for a few miles but after that I was failing very fast. I was ready to quit. Failure must have been written all over my face and body. An unknown runner, with a marine shirt on, came along side of my panting body and began to speak hope into me. He said, “You can do it! Don’t quit!” He encouraged me by saying that neither one of us was going to win, so let’s stay together and finish this race as a team. That is what we did. He talked to me about his life and asked questions about my life. I panted back answers. I felt stronger and stronger and we finished together. I hugged this unknown soul and thanked him from the depths of my heart. I went home feeling very victorious! We had shared a very special moment. Bless you-unknown friend!
It happened again! I was in the midst of recovery from an awful accident. I was in physical rehab and my physical theorist was trying to get me to walk a few feet with a walker. It was a very difficult challenge for a man with a broken pelvis, crushed left leg and two broken arms. I wept in pain. An elderly gentleman approached me. He was using a walker and he passed on these kind words. With lips twisted by a stroke, he said, “You can do it, do not give up! Just get it a little at a time.” Then the old man reached out to my broken body and hugged me. An act of great love for my soul. I did recover.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”