He was perhaps the greatest American ultra-runner of the 1920’s, yet his rags-to-riches story is relatively unknown. Born in Finland in 1893, this top-rated cross-country runner immigrated to the United States at the age of 18, serving in the merchant marines during World War I. During his three-year tour of duty, he would complete ten hazardous journeys across the torpedo-infested waters of the Atlantic, but he would also train, running twelve-mile laps on the deck of his vessel. When C.C. Pyle created his historic Transcontinental Run, humorously nicknamed The Bunion Derby, Johnny Salo, this relatively poor, unknown immigrant from Finland would race from New York City to Los Angeles, California, almost 4,000 miles, in 525 hours, 57 minutes, and 20 seconds. There was no one better, no one faster than Johnny.
I’m impressed with that type of endurance. A cross-country trot had to be a grueling experience, but may I mention a few other marathon runners for your serious consideration? Let’s ponder Noah and his century-long shipbuilding project, completed in the midst of a mocking, “corrupted” people who had never even witnessed a good downpour, let alone a flood. Or consider Abraham, who had received a direct promise from God that “I will make thee a great nation,” yet waited for 25 years to hold that promise in his arms. Moses ran a bit of a marathon of his own, sojourning from Egypt to Midian, back to Egypt to gather up a crowd of complaining companions, and then off to Moab, a mere 120-mile hike! And then there was Joseph, beloved of his father, yet brutally torn from that father by his own siblings. He would spend many years yearning to see his daddy again, to be held in his arms once more, to return to his homeland. The prophet Jeremiah would tearfully proclaim an unpopular message of judgment to a rebellious people for more than 40 years of his life, with no fruit to show for his labor. What common thread ties these runners together? It’s their endurance, that steadfast faith that carried them through the long haul. They had surely “run with patience the race” set before them.
If the Christian life were a sprint, it would be a breeze, a piece of cake, but it isn’t, it’s a marathon. Do you feel as though you are spinning your wheels, or facing too strong of a headwind as “one that beateth the air?” Be encouraged by your fellow runners, those from the pages Scriptures, and those in your own circle: a pastor who has been faithfully at the helm of his church for years; a missionary who has plowed the harvest field in a foreign land for decades; that elderly couple whose love has endured the test of time and the fire of trials; a Sunday school teacher who has been at her post forever, quietly impacting generations of children. Glean from their examples, honor them, thank them for their faithfulness, then lace up your shoes…and RUN!
I Corinthians 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:”
Dear Lord, sometimes the race gets so tiring and discouraging. Help us to keep our focus on You, thank You for the examples given us in the Word to encourage and keep us running.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1872-62bbff9020a5b' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1872&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1872-62bbff9020a5b' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1872-62bbff9020a5b' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>