The London Marathon is a huge event now in our sporting calendar. Literally thousands of runners attempt to conquer the 26 miles on London’s streets and many succeed. But the question in my mind is one the star of the academy award winning film Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell, asked: ‘Where does the power come from to see the race to the end?’
Perhaps we all ask that question at some point in our lives: how do I keep going, in the face of mounting difficulties? Life is indeed a marathon, not a sprint and we need a source of strength to keep going. Eric Liddell answered that question by simply saying: ‘From within’.
And he should know. After his victory in Paris in he went on to be a missionary in China. My parents had the privilege of knowing him as they were interned in the same prisoner of war camp. Life in an Internment camp is nightmarish: little food, cramped living conditions and days without freedom to venture outside the barbed wire fences – very hard for children.
How did they and Eric Liddell see the race to the end? Only with the help of the God they trusted. Prayer was a comfort, and they encouraged each other in the face of harsh treatment. These words from one of the ancient prophets still holds true for all runners of the race of life: ‘Even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired; they walk and don’t lag behind.’
The Revd Bruce Goodwin, Senior Chaplain to the University of Gloucestershire