I am not a cyclist. Don’t get me wrong. I can ride a bike, but my rump hurts at the very thought of spending a long period of time on a bicycle seat. I also don’t find cycling the most exciting of sports to watch. Just not my thing. I’m more of a soccer, swimming kind of girl. But strangely, last Saturday I found myself glued to the television as a four-hour, 150K woman’s cycling race was broadcast. It is the Olympics after all.
As I watched racers one, two, and three win gold, silver, and bronze, I realized the network cameras were still trained on the losing racers. You know, the ones who had yet to finish. What I saw brought tears to my eyes.
The group of racers trailed 45 seconds behind the leaders. They had already lost the race, and they knew it. There would be no medals for any of these cyclists who had trained for years and probably given up more than we could ever imagine just making it to the Olympics. Imagine the heartache, the tears, the sense of defeat. At least that’s what I thought would be displayed on the television. Instead, I stared in utter amazement as the cyclists, who knew they had lost, began to sprint to the finish line.
They sprinted. They didn’t slow down. They didn’t stop. They didn’t hang their heads in defeat. They sprinted. After I watched with a lump in my throat, I asked myself, when have I ever done that? When have I ever, knowing loss was inevitable, begun to work harder than I had when victory was possible? My answer is never. But what if I started to live my life in that way? What if I begin my sprint at the moment I know I won’t win? How would my life change?
That’s when it hit me. I don’t run this race called life for me. It is not my victory or defeat that matters. When I begin to realize my sweet Savior has already won the race of life, I am faced with the reality I should always be sprinting. I should always be giving it my all. While on this earth, defeat will be around every corner. However, my victory is safe within the grasp of Jesus. Period. It doesn’t matter where I place.
So my friends, will you begin to sprint with me? It will be exhausting. We will face defeat. Tears will come. But there will also be joy, immeasurable, heart-filling, soul-strengthening Joy. Why? Because our Jesus will be waiting for us at the finish line. And that, dear friends, is a race worth losing.