I stood shivering and bouncing among 8,000 runners that cool May morning when the gun shot off.
My dad stood at the starting line, pumping his fists in the air. And he would be there again, with my mom and sister, at mile four, and again at mile seven. I remember how proud they were for me, even though I scooted along at the back at the pack.
Bob, a pastor-friend, told me a few days before the race to pay attention while I was running because the half-marathon was more than a race. It was an opportunity to see God.
And so I saw.
I saw these people, everywhere. With pom-poms and steaming Styrofoam mugs of coffee and goofy morning grins. Strangers called out my name, because it was written on the front of my purple jersey.
There were hands. Hands held out cups of water, sports drinks, high-fives.
I remember mile 10, and how I didn’t know if I could make it up that steep hill; some guy on the sidewalk stepped onto the road to run beside me a while. He wore a ridiculous wig and rainbow-stripe suspenders, and he kept one hand on my back, like he might need to shove me up the hill.
They were just a bunch of innocent people who stood on sidewalks to make someone else know they matter. And that’s never a small matter.
And I’m guessing that’s what the marathon runners saw on Monday morning in Boston before the explosions started:
They saw people. Everywhere. They were lining Boston streets to champion the resolve of the human spirit.
Can you see their faces? I can. Maybe it’s because Bob told me to pay attention.
And then, — boom — they were the ones hurt. Our cheerleaders got slammed.
You know, I needed to write something tonight, not because I felt my voice would add anything of value to this mess. Plenty of people have plenty to say. But it’s #TellHisStory time, falling right here, 48 hours after the Boston blasts.
And if I was going to say anything tonight, I wanted it to be about the innocents and the cheerleaders.
And maybe because I didn’t want death and sorrow to have the last word here. We can’t let it. And God won’t stand for it.
You know, it might look like God was on vacation on Monday morning when Boston happened. It might look like God didn’t do a stinking thing about it. You might even want to raise a fist.
Go ahead. Raise a fist. Yell. Question. And by all means, cry.
But let’s remind each other of this: God really has done something about this. And his “something” looks like a cross. It looks like an empty tomb. It looks like Jesus.
It also looks like the people.
It looks like the people with goofy wigs and silly signs and hands clutching cold cups of water. It looks like those same people, not running away when the explosions went off, but running INTO. It looks like the people who jump fences to make tourniquets, who get bloody on account of another soul. Who run into terror when they don’t know if another bomb is gonna blow.
It looks like people in your everyday life, who make you know that the good will always outmatch the evil.
And someone might say I’m simple-minded and overly sentimental. But I’m just trying to look at the people on the sidewalks, to spy God there, like Pastor Bob told me to. And the people I see — those real faces — help me know that it’s better to believe this: in the end, good trumps evil.
I don’t think I could breathe another breath if I didn’t believe that anymore.
So, what’s your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God. In April, we’re considering the theme of change and growth. (Think spring!) However, you are free to share any story that God is speaking into your life.
To participate in the #TellHisStory linkup, simply:
1. Write your #TellHisStory post, from your heart, straight onto your blog. A #TellHisStory is any story that connects YOUR STORY into the story of God. What story is God telling in your life this week?
2. Link here and invite friends to join in by posting the #TellHisStory badge on your post.
3. Copy the permalink of your post.
4. Using the linky tool, paste your link in.
5. Find someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment.
6. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
Your words matter to God. They matter to people. And they matter to me!