Phidippides ran for 40 Kilometres from the battleground near Marathon to Athens to proclaim the Greek triumph over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). Sadly, the run had fatal consequences on the bearer of the good news; Phidippides. He previously ran 250 Kilometres to Sparta to get help against the menacingly advancing Persian ranks. He had also run back to Athenians with bad news; that the Spartans wouldn’t be arriving soon.
Severe taxation on Phidippides physical body, coupled with fighting made him pay the ultimate price.
It is noteworthy that Phidippides was a trained runner. His whole life was all about running.
Running isn’t easy. It is only affordable for those who are willing to sacrifice. Those who pay the physical and mental price qualify to run in great races. And it is in great races you find great prizes.
Thou shalt not look back
You can always look back when gallivanting. But you cannot afford to look back when you are running in a competitive event. Even the automobile manufacturers knew this very well when they provided rear-view mirrors; so that you do not have to turn your head to have a glimpse of what is happening behind. An actual turning of the head can spell doom not just to you but other people around. Are you hanging around people who keep looking back? Take heed, you may become a statistic of collateral damage.
The enemy is happy when you look behind, for he interprets it as a sign of weakness. Looking back means you are scared of what is behind you. It implies you are beginning to struggle. It is a sign that you are losing your confidence. The enemy takes this as an opportunity to catch up with you. It gives him mental surge and strength to track you down and prey on you.
Additionally, looking back also slows you down. Your natural running motion is tinkered with and soon you are twisted and off-balance.
One thing I do
Paul is one chap who refused to look behind. He knew his backyard was bloody and murderous. He was aware of a past that could be used by the adversary to deflect and eventually crush him. He steadily refused to look back. In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul says, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus ”
We can choose to dwell on the Yesterday and become bitter, discouraged, condemned, and stagnate. On the other hand, we can decide to look forward, become better, encouraged, forgiven, and run the race set before us with our eyes set on the prize of God’s heavenly calling.
The late Edna Ferber, a prominent writer and a native of Kalamazoo, was right when she said that, “Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.”
Some choices are better individually made than communally dictated. We can choose to go forth, backwards or decline.