Faith and Family

Jones: Running well on a muddy track

By Lynn Jones

A person who had triumphed over many difficulties in her life once said, “I’m like the race horse who ran best on a muddy track.” You’ve got to admire a horse that runs well on a muddy track. Most horses prefer sunshiny days and dry tracks. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get those kinds of conditions all the time. If a racehorse is going to have a successful career, he must be able to handle a muddy track.

Life is like that. Given our choice, all of us would choose good weather and a dry track. Life, however, does not always hand us ideal conditions. We are forced to deal with bad weather and muddy tracks.

The challenges you face may come in the form of difficulties with your health. They may appear as a job in which there are many things that are less than the ideal. They may come as family problems or financial difficulties. In whatever form they come, they confront all of us with muddy tracks and difficult passages in life. 

If we are going to triumph in life, endurance is needed when the conditions are less than perfect. Television has spoiled us. If the show we’re watching gets a little boring, all we have to do is hit the remote control to find something more exciting and entertaining. One man said, “We’ve become a nation of ESPN highlights and quick fixes. We don’t watch the whole game. We just want to see the slam dunks.” 

Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. There are still some stretches where the action is slow, and the track is muddy. We need to stick with the race even when things are difficult. One old preacher said, “We need the power to stick with what we’re stuck with.” That’s a pretty good way of summing up the challenges of life.

One of the serendipities of life is that we often find life’s greatest blessings on the muddiest stretches of the track. Max Cleland lost both legs in combat in Vietnam. He came back from that devastating injury to serve as head of the Veteran’s Administration and as a U.S Senator. Later, as he looked back on his challenges, he heard these words ringing in his head: “I was given poverty, that I might be wise; I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life: I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for—but everything I had hoped for.”

The Bible encourages us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb: 12:1). May God give you the strength you need to run the race with endurance, even when it is on a muddy track!

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *