Phidippides ran for 40 Kilometres to inform the Athenians that the Persians had been clobbered. It was during the Battle of Marathon as the vast Persian Empire tried to gain a footing in Europe by invading Greek city-states. Phidippides ran with good news. He was on a mission to dispatch celebratory news. Sadly, he shortly died due to exhaustion, but after he had delivered the good news. He had previously run 250 kilometres to Sparta to solicit for help as the Persian soldiers advanced menacingly. He had also run back to Athenians with bad news; that the Spartans wouldn’t be arriving soon. This made the Athenians prepare intelligently, for they knew they were outnumbered by 4 to 1.
The extreme taxation on Phidippides physical body, coupled with fighting made him pay the ultimate price.
It is noteworthy that Phidippides was a trained runner. His entire life consisted of 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 the great prize.
Thou shalt not look back
It is easy to look back when strolling. But, you cannot afford to look back when you are running in a competitive event. Even the automobile manufacturers knew this pretty well when they provided rear-view mirrors; so that you do not have to turn your head to have a glimpse of what is transpiring 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 notes it as a sign of weakness. Looking back indicates that you are afraid of what is behind you. It means you are beginning to struggle. It is a sign that you are failing in your confidence.
The enemy takes this as an opening to catch up with you. It gives the enemy a mental surge and strength to track you down and prey on you.
Looking back also slows you down; your natural running motion is tampered with, and soon you are twisted and off-balance.
One thing I do
Paul is one guy who refused to look back. He knew his backyard was bloody and murderous. He was aware of a past that could be used by the enemy to wreck and ultimately ruin him. He steadily declined to look behind. 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, depressed, condemned, and stagnate. On the other hand, we can decide to look forth, become better, encouraged, forgiven, and run the race set before us with our eyes fixed on the prize of God’s heavenly calling.
The late Edna Ferber, a great 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.