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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guide my feet while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Guide my feet while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Guide my feet while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Hold my hand while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Hold my hand while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Hold my hand while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Stand by me while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Stand by me while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Stand by me while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

I’m your child while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
I’m your child while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
I’m your child while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Search my heart while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Search my heart while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Search my heart while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

Guide my feet while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Guide my feet while I run this race; yes, my Lord!
Guide my feet while I run this race,
for I don’t want to run this race in vain!

“Guide My Feet” (tune: Guide My Feet)
African American spiritual
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
When I was just a few months into my ministry here at Fourth Church, I faced a dilemma that highlights the tension that many of us feel between our personal or family lives and our professional lives. About a month after the beginning of the youth ministry program year, my wife was running the Chicago Marathon and she really wanted me to be there to cheer her on. But as a young pastor beginning a new call—not to mention a relatively new spouse—I didn’t feel like I could miss a Sunday morning so early in the year.

I didn’t realize how important my presence and support was to my wife until I dropped her off at the race and saw the look of disappointment on her face. I tried to slip away between my morning commitments and make it down to the finish line, but it was too little too late. To make matters worse, the excursion ended up disrupting what I was trying to do at church as well, so I felt like a failure on all fronts. It was a rookie mistake I promised myself I would never make again.

I had the chance to redeem myself last week as my wife once again ran the marathon. This time I took Sunday off and hauled our two children around the city to cheer her on at several predetermined spots along the race course. We saw her toward the beginning of the race (after running a mini-marathon of our own to get there), but somehow we missed her at the halfway point. We pressed on and eventually made our way to a location just over a mile from the finish line. As the pack had thinned out considerably by that point in the race, we found her easily and gave her just the boost she needed to finish the race with excitement and joy.

I understand now how meaningful it is for marathon runners to feel supported by their loved ones. It’s just as true for all of us as we run the race of life: we long for the love and support of our partners and spouses, our parents and children, our friends and even strangers. And whether we always have the words to articulate it or not, I believe that we all want to feel the presence, love, and support of God, whom I believe is always there as we run our race.

Prayer
Gracious God, I’m your child. Help me to know that you are always with me. Search my heart. Stand by me. Hold my hand. Guide my feet. Amen.


Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry


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