Thursday night at the track meet Jared told me that Super Dave wanted to talk to me. I have really enjoyed getting to know David. He talks so fondly of the church following the accident that took his vision. The kids on the cross-country and track teams call him Super Dave. He is quite remarkable. When I saw him, he asked me if I was in shape enough to run a 5K (3.1 mile) race on Saturday (3/31). We would run tethered together and I’d give instructions on turns, curbs, and near pot-holes. He encourages the kids so much and quite frankly, his asking me to run was just the encouragement I needed to finally run an official race. His confidence in me helped me to have confidence in myself.
At 4:00 the starter gave the orders and we were off. We started in the back so as to not be in anyone's way. We were back there with parents running with their children or pushing strollers and a couple of people running with their pets. We had plenty of room; the pace was easy. Then, about 300-yards into the course, it happened: we had to make a sharp turn left and then another to the right to get through the crosswalk at the roundabout. That's when I knew it wasn't going to be as easy as the start had led me to believe.
Running through a parking lot, Dave stumbled as we began going uphill. He clipped my heel when he drifted too close. A lady suddenly stopped running in front of us and he brushed her shoulder; he couldn't see her and I couldn't react in time. As we exited the parking lot a car didn't slow for the runners. I changed my direction so Super Dave wouldn't run into its path. He stumbled and fell. I helped pick him up and we continued running. We quickly learned that the safest way to run was to keep the tension taut. As long as we could keep the rope tight, he could feel where I was. If he veered right, I pulled left. I told him when the grade increased and when a speed bump was in his path. A mile into the race we were both comfortable. Dave showed tremendous faith in me; it took confidence to run blindly while following my lead. Two miles into the race we were talking about how much our run reminded us of how God accompanies us every day.
It's true! We only think we can see but it is God who has the real vision. It's God who knows where the pot-holes are. When we fall, God picks us up. When we are facing an uphill climb, God encourages us. God gives us complete freedom and yet we find that if we yield to God’s wisdom we have more safety. We are strongest when we keep the tie that binds us tight. The tighter we keep our relationship with God the more we can feel God's presence. We may not see God but God is always there beside us. Are we tethered to God? Are we connected to God in prayer? Are we listening to His voice? Do we let God direct us?
We ran our race in 31:28. We were not the last people to finish! Our pace was fairly consistent (we did stop and walk about 30-yards at the top of a long hill). It felt so good to finish together. I hugged Dave and he hugged me. It was an experience I hope I never forget. Thanks Super Dave for asking me to run with you. Thank you Heavenly Father for showing us both a truth about faith that will draw us even closer to your finish line.
Len Keever is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dunn. This article originally appeared in their church newsletter, The Builder.