The gun fired early on that unseasonably cold March morning. And off we went. Ten thousand of my closest runner friends and me at the Knoxville Half Marathon. The morning was perfect. A bright sunrise over the stillness of East Tennessee’s prized town.
However, when race day falls on a Sunday morning, that poses a “fan-based” problem for a pastor’s wife, like me. Basically, my family is on one side of town while I am running across the other. No little boys with signs. No husband with flowers. No cowbells or camping chairs set out on my behalf.
Don’t get me wrong. There was plenty of entertainment to keep my mind occupied for 13 miles. But somewhere between mile 7 and 10 I began to feel the void of family. And not just at the race.
Somedays losing your mom stings more than others. I can’t tell you why one Tuesday or Friday is harder than the last. But it just is. And this particular Sunday was hard. I suppose I felt like every other runner in Knoxville had a sign held high for them. A mom for them. A family for them. Except for me.
Life’s road is lonely sometimes. Maybe you feel way over here. While others are way over there – laughing, making memories, holding grandbabies, grilling burgers, and being best friends. The details of life that scrapbooks are full of.
But around mile 8 there was a lady with a sign. A sign held just for me. She sat bundled in a coat and gloves. Probably a coffee tucked in the cup holder of her camping chair. She held a yellow sign decorated with colored sharpies.
“You are my FAVORITE runner.”
A lady divinely placed there for me. And that that sign was not from her. It was from Him. A timely reminder that I am not alone on the road.
Nor am I forgotten.
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before me. Isaiah 49:15-16
Of all the 10,000 runners on the course that day, I was His favorite. He came early for me. Cowbells in tow, ringing them as loud as He could with those nail-scarred hands.
And He is here for you, too. Today. You are His #1. A first-place-prize-winning child of God. No matter your record, your speed or track performance.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
Do you feel alone today? Far away? Left out or lonesome?
Whatever your road looks like, no matter how forgotten or isolated you feel, the Father is lavishing His love on you. Run towards Him. Your name is inscribed on His hands. He calls you His child! THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE.
Lift up your chin, child of God. You are not forgotten or forsaken.
This morning, He holds a sign for you. Read it with hope…
“YOU are His FAVORITE runner.”