Throughout this pandemic, many of us have spent too much time binge-watching Netflix. That is a “confession” that is often brought to me in my day-to-day life.
I must confess that I also have watched my fair share. The one show that has caught my imagination is “The Toughest Race,” hosted by British superhero Bear Grylls. This show is about 66 teams which embark on a non-stop race through the rugged terrain of Fiji. The landscape is beautiful and mystical, yet often unforgiving.
Watching these teams’ race through this ruthless environment is compelling. Each team must not only cover the distance, but they also change disciplines continuously. From sailing to assembling and riding mountain bikes, paddle boarding in swamps, hiking perilous mountains, climbing flowing waterfalls, swimming through the coffee-coloured jungle waters and trudging through mud.
The race is relentless, full of continuous change; each change challenging the teams to their core. Teams become stressed out and sleep-deprived, small injuries grow into raging infections, and the athletes’ bodies start to break down. The hardest of ultramarathoners and Ironman champions are often found weeping.
This must be the most gruelling race on the planet.
People must rely on each other, carry each other and be willing to change, rethink and adapt every step of the way. Some give up out of exhaustion; others give up because of injury. The teams that made it were calm, supportive and cooperated well, and the good news is that Team Canada came second with a stunning performance.
I asked myself the question, why am I so enthralled by this race? I concluded that it was a metaphor for everything we are facing. It feels that in this pandemic, one must change, adapt and move.
Each month has new challenges and uncertainty.
How do we educate our children? How do we keep connected to the family? How are our children going to cope with going back to school? How am I going to handle it?
I am reminded of these words from the book of Hebrews, chapter twelve, verse
one: "since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with
perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and
perfecter of faith.”
We are all on the most challenging race, the ultimate expedition, while heaven watches, and cheers us on.
Phil Collins is Pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.