By: Rex Stump
Dr. Malachai O’Brien set out to do something hard, something that would challenge himself personally, but also benefit others.
To raise awareness for adoption (he was adopted) and mental health (his daughter is a suicide survivor), he decided to run a marathon every day for more than 62 days. The world record for men was 62 days (women 151 days)!
Wow, that is hard! Running over 26.2 miles every day for more than 62 days in a row includes waking up and running on bad weather days, holidays, and days when you may feel sick.
But he was committed to doing the hard thing! He loved running, and spent his time focusing on gratitude, a positive mindset, and not making excuses.
Doing all this, along with the support of his wife and family, and much more…he did it! He concluded his goal in March of 2023 running a total of 153 days consecutively! A total of over 4,000 miles!
In John 4:46 we read that a government official, a powerful man, but most likely not a believer in God, humbly traveled 20 miles just to ask for the help of Jesus.
Twenty miles doesn’t compare to 4,000, but this was hard for him. His son was dying, he ran out of options. So, he begged Jesus for help! Officials don’t beg unless they are desperate and believe in the cause. He begged for Jesus to come to his house and heal his son.
His hope was for Jesus to come. Jesus didn’t. Instead…Jesus told him to go back home, “you son will live.” Did the man ask for proof? Did he keep on begging for Jesus to come with him? No, he believed Jesus and started home.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? For this man, it was watching his son die, traveling 20 miles by foot, expecting Jesus to return with you but instead you just turn around and go home believing what Jesus said.
You wanted to see a miracle and instead you got words of instruction. But this man acted in obedience, trusting what he couldn’t see…that’s hard. Right?
On the way, while he was acting in obedience, some of his servants met him! What is going through the mind of this man?
He sees in the distance his servants coming in his direction. Could it be bad news? Was his heart pounding? The servants blurt out “your son is alive and well!”
“Yesterday at 1pm his fever suddenly disappeared!” No gradual cooling off, but instant healing! But what made it even more amazing, it happened at the same time Jesus told the official, “your son will live.” Jesus healed him from 20 miles away! Amazing! That’s Jesus!
I believe that’s the main thought here. Jesus is a miracle worker, merciful, and flat out amazing! He is so much more! Savior and Son of God! Do you trust Him at His word?
What would you do to get to Him and present your needs to Him? What if you did all you could (prayer and fasting), and the answer He gives is not what you expected? Would you trust and obey Him like the government official?
Dr. O’Brien chose to run 153 days consecutively, reflecting the miracle of Jesus and the number of fish His disciples caught in John 21:11. Many try to explain the number of fish, but many also believe that there is no hidden meaning or symbolic significance.
But Dr. O’Brien knows that John 21 shows the fact that something extraordinary happened, because Someone extraordinary was there. In the same way trusting God can be hard, but when you do, don’t be surprised by the extraordinary.
Rex Stump is the Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves as a Pastor at True North Church in Wauseon, Ohio.