“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.” Romans 5:3-7
An Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4mile swim, a 112mile bike ride and a 26 mile run…WITHOUT a break! Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race. All competitors must complete the triathlon by 12midnight, Meaning, if they finish 1second after the clock strikes midnight, they do not receive the “ironman title.” The Ironman competitors range from professional athletes to those with prosthetic legs. Amazing huh?
Alex Larson began coming to Tempe Life Church about a year ago…around the same time as Ironman 2010. She befriended many of us; I still remember one of our first conversations:
“Hey, Emily so you know stuff about Jesus?”-Alex
“Yes, I do!”- Emily
“Can you like teach me stuff about Jesus?”-Alex
This year Alex headed back to Ironman to volunteer again. However, this year things were different. Very different. Alex was there with a mission in mind. With the help of Mia,Lisi, and several others she created posters with bible verses and posted them up all around the racing grounds. She set up a “Free water, juice and prayer station,” and she shared Jesus and encouraged so many competitors. As I sat there with Alex during the race I felt so full of joy, so amazed by Alex’s transformed life. I asked her what she would have said if a year ago I would have told her that she would be “reppin Jesus,” at IronMan next year. In a very Alex-like fashion she responded” Dudddde, I would have told you, you were Crazy!!!” She said with a huge smile.
While we watched the beginning of the run Alex brought up such a timely analogy, ” You know, this is just like the walk of faith! There are no excuses. I mean there is a BLIND person in this competition, there are a bunch of people who are overweight. But they are not giving up! Just like how we have to persevere in faith. And like the people in the crowds there are people all around us to encourage us and get us back on our feet if we sin.”
Next year Ms. Alex Larson will be competing in Ironman! You wouldn’t be able to miss her. She’ll be the one decked out with scripture all over her attire.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17