Last weekend, I went to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Lower Peninsula Cross Country State Championships to watch our nephew Nick run. Runners qualify for the state meet by placing in the top 15 of their respective Regional Championship meets.
Eight races were held, four divisions of boys and girls. The predicted inclement weather held off until the last two races of the day. The worst weather arrived prior to the very last race that Nick ran, the boy’s Division 1 race that finally got underway 80 minutes past schedule after delays due to nearby lightning strikes.
I didn't Nick's expectations but I supposed they might include a personal best and earning top-30 all-state honors. My prayer was for him to be content with his performance and, while you're at it Lord, all-state would also be nice.
I felt a little funny asking God to allow Nick top-30 placement among the 250 runners competing in his division. Nevertheless, Nick worked hard to become one of that state’s fastest runners this year so all-state was certainly within his reach. Even so, except for the 30 all-staters in each division, most runners that day would cherish simply having qualified and running in this prestigious event.
More than anything, I prayed for trust. “Lord, that I accept whatever you grant for Nick, whether he is satisfied or dissatisfied with his performance, earns all-state honors or falls short.”
Selecting a first viewing position just past the 400-meter mark, I was grateful that my windbreaker/rain jacket kept me dry during on-again, off-again bouts of rain and thunder that set the start time back three times. When the race finally got underway, I spotted Nick in the lead pack before I hustled back across the vast complex to stand near the final turn. When the lead runners finally came into sight, Nick was still well-positioned and I shouted encouragement to him as he passed by on his way to the finish line.
As I casually strolled back toward the finishing area, excited spectators steamed past me to learn results and greet their favorite competitors. Not sure then how Nick finished but trusting God for whatever was when I received God's first answer to my prayers for Nick - peace.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 5b-7, NLT)
The praying person IS God's first answer for every person or situation prayed about and for. When we pray for another, we abide with God, drawing ourselves and the person we pray for closer to God.
The race results? God worked that out as well, allowing Nick to earn all-state honors with a 17th place finish at 15:43.2.