Book Review: The Race Before Us – A Journey of Running and Faith

The Race Before UsI received an advance copy of this book a few months ago and found it incredibly similar to my journey as a Christian over the past few years.  It combines both my interest in Christian doctrine and love of running.  The author, Bruce Matson, outlines his journey of health and spiritual renewal by preparing for marathons and listening to Christian Apologetics podcasts during his training runs.  With his legal background, he’s trained to ask the probing questions to both the Christian and atheist arguments, that I often thought about, but could never clearly articulate.  The conclusions he came to in his book were both convincing and satisfying.  I believe God sent this book into my life at the time to prepare me for the challenges in life that I’m currently experiencing.

Have you struggled with your faith or have serious doubts of whether or not there is a God?  I know my faith has been tested to the extreme this past month.  About a month ago, my younger brother was almost killed after being hit by a drunk driver — the same day our family received news my 37-year old sister had 1 to 3 months to live.  This past Monday my sister passed away after a two year battle with cancer leaving behind a 13-year old son.  Traumatic events like this can certainly make you question whether or not there is a God.

Fortunately, after reading books such as this, my faith in God is stronger than ever.  As much as I grieve over the loss of my little sister, I know she’s in a better place, which brings great comfort.  I have felt God’s presence like I’ve never felt it before during these past few weeks.  Without God, I’m not sure how I could have functioned during this painful season of life.  Years ago, I resolved in my heart and mind that God does certainly exist and Christianity is the most logical religion, but this book provided a timely reinforcement.  Unlike other religions, Christianity provides definitive answers to the four great questions in life.

Origin – Where do I come from?

Meaning – What gives life meaning?

Morality – How do I differentiate between good and bad?

Destiny – What happens to a person when he or she dies?

Although I’ve been a Christian my whole life, it wasn’t until I started listening to podcasts by Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias about five years ago that things really clicked and Christianity was more than just a leap of faith.  His explanations of the Christian faith are based on profound logic and insight.  If you are looking for deeper explanations to life beyond the normal rhetoric that still leaves you unfulfilled, I would highly recommend you download some of his podcasts.  In addition to Ravi Zacharias, I’m also very fond of Chuck Swindoll.

Bruce’s personal running journey provided an inspirational metaphor on his quest to come to conclusions on his Christian faith.  He was also able to tactfully include the many Bible references to running.  The book provides a nice balance of his training and race experiences and his journey to come to conclusions on his faith.  I think many runners who read the book will be able to relate to the insecurities of starting a running program and eventually triumphing with a marathon.

Running seems to be one of the last bastions where a sport is still relatively pure and inclusive, which may be why it has been growing so fast in the last decade.  Running is also very meditative and what better time to ponder life’s ultimate questions.  With the unfortunate Boston Marathon incident to our peaceful sport this past April, it is another reminder that we live in a broken world, and Jesus is the only true answer in order to find any solace for these evil acts.  I think this book will resonate with a lot of runners looking for answers.

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About runninginspired

I’m in my mid-40s and have been running for about 19 years. I have finished 24 marathons with a personal best time of 3:04. I currently reside in San Diego, CA. I enjoy running since it keeps you honest and will give back what you put into it. Work hard, but smart, and good results will eventually follow. I like to experiment with training plans, gadgets, shoes, and nutrition to find what works for me. The primary purpose of this blog is to document my training and thoughts about running in my ongoing quest to improve my fitness and health.
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6 Responses to Book Review: The Race Before Us – A Journey of Running and Faith

  1. lotharson says:

    Well the Image of race might have been very motivating for Paul and many People in the Greek churches he visited, but for many modern Christians suffering under Depression and anxiety this might very well reinforce their unease.

    Lovely greetings from Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  2. musingrunner says:

    I sent the link to this book to my running friends. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Matt Galvin says:

    Thanks for this blog! It’s great to see other Christian’s literally “running” after Christ both physically and spiritually. I love the idea that we can use an hour of our day to spend time with the Lord outside in nature, sometimes silent, sometimes still. But God is with us, and running is beautiful when we do it with God!

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