My husband loves cycling and often he enjoys watching the international races and longer tours. I find the end of the races intriguing, the sprint races to the finish line, some guys crashing, others being pitifully mean to one another. I enjoy the gruelling hill top finishes and the fabulous cobble stone races which always finds Fabulous Fab winning the stage. However, more often than not, I always sit with a deep sense of sadness which draws me in to a silent place until I shake myself off after the races. With each win there is sadness. Each win brings a hype, false praise and elevation of someone who gritted it out against body and machine. Tomorrow someone else is praised for winning the stage and so on and so on. I recall the piercing words of Susan Sarandon in the movie Shall we Dance? While she is sitting in the bar talking to the greasy detective she hired to spy on her husband, he asks her “so why do people get married?” She answers “We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does anyone life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day, you're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."
While romantic as this may sound, I don’t believe people feel this way about marriage, rather I believe people feel this way about other people. They want others to witness their lives, to witness their glory. That is why stage victories and short-lived wins are so dramatic; this is why when people cross that line they jeer at the crowd and camera crews. It’s for glory, it’s begging for a witness. I realised this today as I sat in my after stage race sadness because I wondered at the 7 billion lives living simultaneously on this planet right now. And I asked the question, “who is looking at our lives?” Don’t our struggles, our trials, our fights, our tears, our broken relationships and broken spirits, our days where we feel we can’t go on but we push on and in to personal victory, don’t these matter? The resounding answer inside of my mind and heart is that they matter most of all. Stage wins on races are short-lived and while the winners are enjoying a few hours of glory, what will the rest of their lives say? How many sportsmen end up broke, unemployed, overweight with broken marriages and broken lives. This is because one moment or even 5 years of sporting fame cannot build eternal character or healthy marriages, or children who know they are loved. Moments of stage victories cannot bring healing to another, it cannot create the space for Eternal glory to shine, it cannot offer the greatest victories of all – that of God’s Grace and redemption.
I confess sometimes I get sad after these stage wins because I wonder to myself, who will be a witness to my life? What about what I have overcome and travailed through to get here today? What about the struggles and pains that no one saw or heard and what about my life when I am gone? I want my life to matter, not for glory but for God. Then the scripture God has been sharing with me over and over this week came in to my heart...
“You number and record the sojournings of my life, You place my tears in to Your Bottle, see they are even written in Your book. Your vows are upon me, O God; I will render praise to You and give You thank offerings. For You have delivered my life from death, yes, and my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life and of the living.” (Psalm 56)
The truth is that God is the witness to our lives, He is the witness to every heart beat, to every hair on our head and to every song we have sung and not yet sung. He is the One closest to us, to the world we may be a number on a social security card, to God we are His Beloved child.
We are in a race but not one for glory or pride only to leave the broken lives of the ones we once loved behind, but we are in an eternal race against who we were yesterday and against the deceits of the enemy who stands along the track screaming lies our way. We are running ahead to meet our Beloved and to be eternally embraced by Him. We are not running for gold, or a medal which we will leave behind to tarnish but we are running ahead to live, to live eternally and contently, happily, joyfully, worshipfully in the presence of our Maker.
What does one life mean? Asked Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon). It means the world because Yeshua (Jesus) crossed over the great divide and left heaven to come to this wicked place called earth. He left a Throne to live among a family who were poor, He left eternity to walk in mortality, He left Worship to hear only slander and judgment against Him and He left everything because He thought you and I were enough. He is the witness to our lives and He says “child run well! Run with truth and in honour, run with strength and with honesty, with obedience and loyalty, run with all you have inside of you, run until you reach eternity. For I am the One who numbers your days, I count them all for they are precious to me, I even count your tears – how I catch everyone because they are the liquid whispers of a heart broken and sad. How precious my thoughts are towards you, you need to know that and how special you are to me for you are worth more than the birds in whom I also delight. I am the Witness to your life – now be the witness about Mine.”
I don’t need the world to know my name; I need the Creator of the world to know it. I don’t need to beat someone else to the finish; I need to help lift them up so that they can finish their own race. I don’t need a greasy medal or photo’s of victories, I just need the smiles on the faces around me of the people who truly love God with all their hearts and souls, the presence of the saints in whom is my delight. My soul breathes in deeply tonight because how I am so ever grateful that my God is the Witness to my life and His Witness is all I need, eternally.