I was never what you would call athletic. The only shape I was ever in was round. And that cliche about never getting picked for a team on the playground really was true. I did run track when I was in junior high school. I wasn’t very good. But I did come in second in one of my races. Of course, there were only two of us running. I remember one race especially well. The team had travelled somewhere for this race. It was in an armory with the spectator seats in a balcony. I was part of a four man relay. I was the third leg. We were third place when the baton was passed to me. I took it and ran like the wind. I’m not sure why, but that day everything was working well. I was running fast. I made up time. I got us into first place. It was a thing of beauty. It felt great. Unfortunately, the anchor runner fell behind and we lost. It didn’t matter, I was feeling good. But the best part about that day was that my parents and my sister were there to watch. After the race my sister was telling me that as they watched the race, my Dad was jumping up and down at the railing cheering me on, encouraging me with his shouts. She said she thought he was going to fall over the railing.
I have always treasured that story, that memory, especially because it so closely parallels the way our heavenly Father feels about us. At least that is how it feels to me. This great God, all-powerful, majestic and apart, still sees me. Me! Imagine that. He wants me to succeed at this Christian life. He enjoys my victories and finds ways to encourage me. He doesn’t give up on me because I’m not very good at stuff. He cheers me on through my race in life. Not only that but God has the desire and ability to actually empower me to live the life he wants for me. He provides both the encouragement and the strength.
Unlike those kids on the playground, God actually chose me. He looked down the corridors of time and said, “I’ll take Albert. You’re on my team now.” Wow, how great is that! It wasn’t because I was especially handsome (although I am quite goodlooking – in a short, balding kind of way), or smart or spiritual or holy or anything special. He chose me because He wanted to. That makes me feel special. To know that God wants me to win and roots for me is one of the great milestones on my Journey to the Center of the Soul.