a perfect God might be real?
Utterly spent by this crest of fury, the man settled to his knees.
There wasn’t much left for him to do, it seemed. It was clear
that he would get nowhere simply running forward in the
same fashion. And so he resolved to push forth one last time,
casting aside every little weight in a final effort to catch that
That attempt ended, of course, where this story began, with the man
lying prostrate in the grime. Let’s take a moment to reflect here, brothers
and sisters. Consider what it was that caused the man’s failures.
As the man strains to raise his right arm from the mud’s
clutch, something gives way. Perhaps it is his arm, his spine,
his ribs; he can’t tell. All of a sudden, everything is washed
away. Frustrations with his condition, ambitions to finish the
race, all of it uprooted and caught up in a white-hot flood of
pain. And it doesn’t recede either. Something is deeply wrong.
The man isn’t really surprised; the human body wasn’t made
for the stresses that he put it through, after all. But in the ab-
sence of surprise there is still despair, as he realizes that all his
efforts earlier have amounted to nothing, now that he’s stuck
here, body broken and useless and half-buried in the dirt.
So he gives up. He threw everything he had at the race, and
has nothing to show for it. He lets his limbs sink back into the
clinging mud and sobs into the ground. The man stews in
self-pity, casting his mind back and cursing every little misfor-
tune that came his way during the race. He fumes and fumes
and fumes until he is truly, truly spent.
In this dark place, what is there left to do but pray? With no
hope left and all the passion stamped out of him, the man
finally reaches out to God and implores Him to
please lift me from this place please show me how I can finish this
race should I finish this race you were so good to me at the beginning
why did you abandon me why am I so alone God please please please
He struggles to even find the words to say, the pain is so great.
It is here that, as He promised, the Holy Spirit begins to inter-
cede on the man’s behalf with groanings too deep for words.
Somewhere, the Lord hears these pleading cries, and he an-
The man sees, even through his closed eyes, a shining bril-
liance, and for a moment his heart stops as he entertains the
impossible notion that the light he was chasing for so long has
turned around and come to him. But when he finally musters
up the willpower to wrench his head off the ground and open
his eyes, he sees that the light is everywhere: not just in front of
him or behind him or even all around him. It is in him, deeply
entwined and interwoven with his very flesh. How could he
have missed this? If the very light he had so eagerly pursued
had been running with him all along, what then was the pur-
pose of the race? What was the race really? Was there even a race
As he considers these questions, the man casts his eyes upward
in amazement at this revelation and sees that he was not only
surrounded by the light all along, but also by a vast cloud of
witnesses, a crowd filled with faithful men and women vaguely
familiar to him. These heavenly onlookers gaze at him loving-
ly, eagerly, awaiting his every decision.
Shaking his head, the man closes his eyes once again, in won-
der this time, not despair. Seeing now Who it was that ac-
companied him, he cannot understand why he had relied so
heavily on himself. And witnessing with his own eyes the peo-
ple who had run this race to its finish before him, he cannot
understand why he had relinquished hope so absolutely. For
the first time since the race had begun, the man rests.
Jeremy Wang is a freshman intending to concentrate in Computational