Marathon: Metaphor for Life

On February 3, our teenage sons and we stepped onto the course. Along with over 21,000 other participants from 1,000 cities across all 50 states and 23 other countries, we were about to run the largest-ever Surf City full and half marathon at Huntington Beach, California.

Many months of preparation preceded this event. Short runs, long runs, workouts, dietary strictness and regulation of sleep patterns, along with mental toughening, were all combined in our program of preparation for the 13.1-mile half marathon.

As we arrived for the race, there were throngs of athletes as far as the eye could see. We made our way to our section of runners—those who were comfortable in completing the course within two hours. As the race began, we all jockeyed for position amid the bustle and thunder of thousands of feet hitting the pavement.

“Miles beyond a great weekend event, we are committed to creating unique experiences that inspire lifelong activity,” promoted event organizers in what they declare their Active Lifestyle Philosophy “This includes a dedication to initiating, encouraging and supporting year-round programs in celebration of an active lifestyle.”

Today, we live in a diseased world where the World Health Organization has an “International Classification of Diseases” translated into 43 languages and distributed to 117 countries in an effort to contain, control and prevent disease.

Most degenerative global diseases originate from consuming de-mineralized foods containing too much sugar, sodium, starch, fats and carbohydrates. The remainder result from malnutrition and a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. As a result, consumers work to retrofit this deprivation of their bodies’ essential needs by using health supplements.

Cancer, diabetes, and kidney and heart disease are all exacerbated and often caused by poor diet and lack of exercise and adherence to the natural laws of health. Laws such as a balanced daily diet combined with exercise, sleep and fresh air, enhanced by proper personal hygiene and elimination, set a physical foundation for a balanced mind in thinking and living.

Whether the race organizers realize it or not, the Active Lifestyle Philosophy they promote has its roots in the pages of the world’s bestseller, the Holy Bible.

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote his booklet The Seven Laws of Success in his 70th year. An avid walker, he said this about running: “It induces blood circulation. It gets circulation even to the extremities. And that is good. Stimulating blood circulation is important.” He went so far as to add, “Without health one is direly handicapped, if not totally cut off from achievement. The fourth law of success is largely dependent on good health.”

If you want to succeed in life, take time to stop and consider your health. It’s simply not natural to be sick. Sickness results from breaking the basic laws regulating both mind and body. Far too many people today surmise that their ill health, sickness or disease is natural, of which they are unfortunate victims.

They are simply lying to themselves.

You don’t catch a cold, purchase a fever or invest in illness. These result from depletion of the body through broken laws of health, whether on our part or somebody else’s. Mr. Armstrong spoke so often of cause and effect. In our health, we simply reap what we sow.

Blessed with free moral agency, we have the privilege of making daily decisions, little choices that accumulate over time, either for good or bad. We choose how much sugar, starch, fat, carbohydrates we consume. Anorexia and obesity are a conscious choice, not a disease. Too many of us put off the right decisions in health, deceiving ourselves that we will right the wrong tomorrow. Yet all too often, tomorrow never comes.

Anyone who has run a full or half marathon will tell you it’s a mental battle. A race success or a personal best time is a victory of the mind in advance of the body. A positive attitude does have a direct impact on our physical condition.

The Apostle Paul knew this well, even advising, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

To run a race at first may seem daunting. Yet, as we and our sons experienced, after preparation and completion, there is exhilaration and joy of accomplishment. As a metaphor for life, we run not with a mental strategy of failure but one of spiritual success.

Paul again admonishes, “[W]hatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Winning the battle in daily decisions takes following the battle plan of God’s Word, remembering we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

“He was a strong, vigorous, young man of about 33 years of age, in the peak of health,” Mr. Armstrong wrote of Jesus Christ in his final book, Mystery of the Ages. Had mankind followed our Savior’s example, what would have resulted? “There would be, on the contrary, vigorous, vibrant good health, filled with dynamic interest in life, enthusiastic interest in constructive activities bringing happiness and joy. There would be cleanliness, vigorous activity, real progress …” (ibid).

Why not have good health?

“Why should we be so willing to believe such a perfect state of health and joy is impossible?” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in his booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow. “There are blessings for observing the laws of health—absolute guarantees good health will result—‘and that sickness and disease will become a thing of the past.’”

We write of the imminent return of Jesus Christ to usher in an all-loving, powerful government resulting in utopian conditions. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote of such godly promises: “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds …” (Jeremiah 30:17). Very soon, agricultural conditions will change for the better. The nature of even animals will be transformed. The plague of disease will be stopped. Eyes and ears will be opened and the lame will dance (Isaiah 35:1-10).

The God who created your body and mind to instill His Spirit wishes “above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health” (3 John 2). Move beyond just reading this article, and take the steps forward in your daily diet and exercise to obey God’s health laws, and in so doing reap the rich rewards of prosperity in health!