Rob Matthews and dependency upon the 'one who comes alongside.'

Rob Matthews, a blind runner who broke 22 world records and won eight gold medals for Team GB at the Paralympic Games, died on April 11th in Auckland, aged just 56.

This naturally gifted and courageous man became the unwitting subject of a teaching illustration with the local church last Sunday as we reminded ourselves of our dependency upon the Holy Spirit.
Like other runners with visual impairment, Matthews ran with a guide runner, tied by a short rope which is looped around their fingers. A blind runner needs to work and work at becoming synchronised with his guide in order that they might navigate the course confidently, and at top speed.
Image from Daily Mail


Matthews has been quoted in the past with regard to his running guides, 'I'm trusting this guy with my life!'

One of his guides, Matt Lawton, was reported in the press last week with this insight; 'Most of Rob's guide runners become lifelong friends, but the guy who ran him into the lamp post on their first outing together didn't return for a second session. The poor chap was mortified.'

I heard a recent interview with Matthews where he summed up running, and life in one great soundbite. 'Running is pretty simple. You just put one foot in front of the other and determine that no matter what, you will keep going. In my case, it's exactly the same, but I put one foot in front of the other whilst holding tight to another person who is running alongside me.'

It doesn't take much unpacking to see the beautiful parallel for the disciple of Jesus who is exhorted to be led by the Spirit, walk by the Spirit, to run the race marked out for him with the help of a guide, one who literally comes alongside. 
Leaning into one to whom we are connected, tethered, united with God himself by His Spirit. One with whom we are invited into such friendship and deeply securing intimacy along the journey. Led by one who will never let go, who sees the way ahead clearly, who will not lead us into obstacles that will harm. Running alongside one who sets the pace, synchronises our heartbeat with his, and will remain with us right to the finish line.

We applaud you Rob Matthews, and we thank you for your example. That in our relative blindness, we too have one who has come alongside and requires our dependency.

If you would like to contribute to our team of runners who are helping to launch a chicken farm in Zambia, please follow the link for more info: https://www.give.net/rungatwickforzambia

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