I had another post prepared for this month but then... my daughter ran the Toronto Marathon this weekend (and my wife the half Marathon). Our girl Ruthann tells her story and it's too good and too relevant to your life and mine not to re-post it here. Lengthy read, yes, but SO worth the time. May it change something inside the ropes of your life, especially if you "need to be sustained."

  Lord, sustain me. You hold the world in Your hands. Hold my knees right now.    The shooting pain through my knees, sent me reeling with each pressing pound to the ground under me. Four kilometers into the race, and my knee was already causing me much grief. Four weeks earlier, I had suffered an injury in my knee, but had been quite confident the worst of it was over. Little did I know it would persist in such a debilitating way.  Just prior to the race, my dear father prayed over my knees.  I questioned if the prayers were answered.    Did you not hear our prayers?  How will I finish this race, Lord?     I will sustain you.    But how will I be able to do this with my knees in this state this early in the race?     I will sustain you. I will hold you. I will hold your knees. Trust Me.    The words soothed my soul for the moment, but as the pain persisted my faith waned.  I plodded along, each step becoming more and more taxing. The pain began to shift from my knee down through my shin and into my foot. And the other knee joined the painful party. I did not think I was going to be able to go on.    Even youths grow tired and weary, even young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in Me will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. Remember your mama? She is walking in pain. But I am sustaining her even now.     Jesus, I want to believe that. Can I please see my mama? I just need to see her! Will you please allow that to happen?    As I ran my next few kilometers, I allowed my mind to be distracted with scanning the other side of the course as I looped back on Lakeshore, looking for the woman that I have the privilege of calling “Mama”.  Finally, as I rounded to the 16 km mark, I saw her in full form! She was radiant, vibrant and clearly sustained. What joy filled my heart to see she was not quitting; rather, she was pressing on through the pain.  A renewed sense of purpose and perseverance flooded my body, driving me deeper into a place of determination.

Lord, sustain me. You hold the world in Your hands. Hold my knees right now. 

The shooting pain through my knees, sent me reeling with each pressing pound to the ground under me. Four kilometers into the race, and my knee was already causing me much grief. Four weeks earlier, I had suffered an injury in my knee, but had been quite confident the worst of it was over. Little did I know it would persist in such a debilitating way.

Just prior to the race, my dear father prayed over my knees.  I questioned if the prayers were answered.

Did you not hear our prayers? How will I finish this race, Lord? 

I will sustain you.

But how will I be able to do this with my knees in this state this early in the race? 

I will sustain you. I will hold you. I will hold your knees. Trust Me. 

The words soothed my soul for the moment, but as the pain persisted my faith waned.  I plodded along, each step becoming more and more taxing. The pain began to shift from my knee down through my shin and into my foot. And the other knee joined the painful party. I did not think I was going to be able to go on. 

Even youths grow tired and weary, even young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in Me will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. Remember your mama? She is walking in pain. But I am sustaining her even now. 

Jesus, I want to believe that. Can I please see my mama? I just need to see her! Will you please allow that to happen? 

As I ran my next few kilometers, I allowed my mind to be distracted with scanning the other side of the course as I looped back on Lakeshore, looking for the woman that I have the privilege of calling “Mama”.  Finally, as I rounded to the 16 km mark, I saw her in full form! She was radiant, vibrant and clearly sustained. What joy filled my heart to see she was not quitting; rather, she was pressing on through the pain.  A renewed sense of purpose and perseverance flooded my body, driving me deeper into a place of determination.

I entered the “road less traveled” at the 19km mark where the half marathon and full marathon split. Prior to that moment of seeing my mama, I seriously considered veering off with the half marathoners, heading home early.  But with the sustaining hand of Christ through the picture of my mama, I pressed in.  A million miles to go. 

Upon reaching the halfway mark, I made a phone call. 

“Hanika, I am at the 21km mark! I made it halfway!

“We are here at the 31 km mark waiting for you! Keep going girl.”

“Pray for my knees.”

“Okay, we are praying. See you soon!”

As we hung up, I became more aware of my surroundings, knowing the familiarities of it. Not unlike last year, when we entered the loneliest portion of the race, the world became dark and bitterly cold. I was thankful I had not taken off my mitts or my headband, which I had considered doing on some of the warmer stretches. I passed the point where I had made a friend last year, which had carried me through the second half of the race. 

Jesus, I need a friend. Send me a friend. 

No one came. There was no one I was pacing with. No one that seemed to be in stride with me. I was alone. My breathing and stamina were in a great place, but my legs were slowing me. With each step, I became more and more discouraged. 

Jesus, why are you leaving me to do this alone? You know I need a distraction, a human right now. You know the pain that is consuming me. 

“Keep going. I like what I am seeing. I like that you are staying right behind him. It’s like he has gone before you and drawn a line in the sand and you are running it. That’s perfect.”

The words were from presumably a running coach who was biking beside a runner.   But the words were spoken to me. 

There is no where that you go that I haven’t already been. I go before you, leading the way for you. I have endured all pain, more than you will ever know. Keep running in the line in the sand that I have marked out for you, the line that I already made by going there Myself! 

A dear streetleader called me just then. 

“Supie? Are you almost done?”

“It depends what you mean by almost done! I have a lot of kilometers still to go. Probably another hour and half of running.” Oh Lord, have mercy. Sustain me! 

“Okay, we are still here waiting to cheer for you!”

“Thank you dear girl! I love you. Please be praying for my knees!”

“We will! See you soon!” 

I pressed in deeper. I entered the Beaches, whispering a prayer for a dear friend and kindred spirit, Thoughtful Girl, who lives in that area. As I prayed, Thoughtful Girl called me. 

“Ruthann?!? Wait, are you running? I was just going to leave a message. I wanted to let you know that I love you, I am thinking of you and I am praying for you. How are you doing?”

“Not great. I am in a lot of pain. My knees are greatly troubling me. I don’t know if I can finish the race.”

“Can I pray with you right now? Jesus, You are with Ruthann. Give her the encouragement that she needs right now. The strength she needs to continue and to finish. We love you and you love her!”

As I hung up the phone, Jesus directly answered the prayer. The long awaited sight of familiar faces renewed my soul. Cheering Friend, Coach Papa and Teacher Friend came just in my time of great need! They spoke words of encouragement, cheering me on, reassuring me and speaking life into me. Teacher Friend, who ran the 5 km race earlier that morning, joined me in my running for a few kilometres.

I sustain you. 

As Teacher Friend, went off to the side, I felt lifted once again. However, the thought of the long stretch back clouded my present joy, bringing me right back to a place of discouragement.

 (Hover over picture...)

 “Hi Rudy.”  A long time family friend, Perseverant Man, came alongside me.  We talked, momentarily relieving my mind from thinking about the task ahead. As we chatted, I couldn’t help but wish I would be able to run with him. Knowing however that I was not in the best of physical condition to finish strong, I tried telling him to run ahead, knowing full well that he was in a much stronger state and would be able to complete his race in a much better time than me.   “Rudy, I have nothing to prove. I just want to be able to finish. And if it is okay with you, I would like to run with you.”    I sustain you. I hold you. Trust in Me.    Another glimmer of hope filled my soul. I actually believed I could finish the race. With each pressing kilometer, the pain persisted; however, having someone to share the burden by talking about everything else but the race and our bodies brought the strength I needed and the perfect distraction. Each kilometer came to us faster and faster.  By the time we hit the 40 kilometer mark, I was absolutely astonished.   “Rudy, my knee is really starting to hurt. I am experiencing pain that I never did when I did my training runs.”  “Don’t stop! Keep going! We can do this together!”  I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my own mouth!     I sustain you. I hold you. Trust in Me.    We rounded the corner, and upon reaching the 41 kilometer mark were overwhelmed by a hoard of UrbanPromise cheerleaders, shouting and encouraging! Tears welled up in me, amazed at the fact that I had made it this far. And I was confident that the reason was because of the sustaining power of the One who was with me through each step.   500 meters. 400 meters. 300 meters. 200 meters.   “Do not give up! Let’s go!”  An unprecedented strength filled my legs, giving me new speed I hadn’t yet felt. I broke out ahead of Perseverant Man with the finish in sight.    I sustained you to sustain others as well.   I slowed, welcoming Perseverant Man to come alongside me, and hand in hand we ran across the finish line with our hands held high.

“Hi Rudy.”

A long time family friend, Perseverant Man, came alongside me.  We talked, momentarily relieving my mind from thinking about the task ahead. As we chatted, I couldn’t help but wish I would be able to run with him. Knowing however that I was not in the best of physical condition to finish strong, I tried telling him to run ahead, knowing full well that he was in a much stronger state and would be able to complete his race in a much better time than me. 

“Rudy, I have nothing to prove. I just want to be able to finish. And if it is okay with you, I would like to run with you.” 

I sustain you. I hold you. Trust in Me. 

Another glimmer of hope filled my soul. I actually believed I could finish the race. With each pressing kilometer, the pain persisted; however, having someone to share the burden by talking about everything else but the race and our bodies brought the strength I needed and the perfect distraction. Each kilometer came to us faster and faster.  By the time we hit the 40 kilometer mark, I was absolutely astonished. 

“Rudy, my knee is really starting to hurt. I am experiencing pain that I never did when I did my training runs.”

“Don’t stop! Keep going! We can do this together!” I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my own mouth! 

I sustain you. I hold you. Trust in Me. 

We rounded the corner, and upon reaching the 41 kilometer mark were overwhelmed by a hoard of UrbanPromise cheerleaders, shouting and encouraging! Tears welled up in me, amazed at the fact that I had made it this far. And I was confident that the reason was because of the sustaining power of the One who was with me through each step. 

500 meters. 400 meters. 300 meters. 200 meters. 

“Do not give up! Let’s go!”

An unprecedented strength filled my legs, giving me new speed I hadn’t yet felt. I broke out ahead of Perseverant Man with the finish in sight. 

I sustained you to sustain others as well.

I slowed, welcoming Perseverant Man to come alongside me, and hand in hand we ran across the finish line with our hands held high.

Sustained. Each. Step. Of. The. Way. I answered the prayer of your Papa George over your knees. I held your knees. I held you. And I still hold you. I still hold the world in my hands. I hold your kids, the youth, the families at UrbanPromise Toronto Camp Freedom. I am the One who sustains. All things.

(Adapted Repost from http://justaclaypot.tumblr.com)

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