The Last Runner

I’m stopped at a red light. A high school track team jogs past my car, the group is bunched together, each runner jockeying for position. Legs flail and elbows push to get that extra bit of advantage. As the trample of feet pass me, two stragglers come into view. They are a half block behind the others, probably won’t catch up. The closer they get, I can see one is struggling to keep running. Her head is down, like someone pulling a load, like a draft horse. Her chest heaves. The runner behind her tries to pass, no wait. She is not trying to pass. My heart breaks when I see what she is doing. Her hand rests lightly on the back of the struggling runner. She is keeping pace easily, and by that light touch, she is saying, “Go on, you can do it.” The last one is obviously a strong runner. She moves effortlessly.She sacrificed her place in line to strengthen the last, the least.

 

Isaiah 41:9-11 (New International Version)

 9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
       from its farthest corners I called you.
       I said, ‘You are my servant’;
       I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
 10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.