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Devotional: Let Us Run with Patience the Race that Is Set Before Us

In Tuesday’s devotional at the Marriott Center, BYU Professor Brad Owens shared the message that we can “not only complete this mortal part of our eternal journey, but can do so with magnificent success.”

Inspired by Cliff Young’s error-ridden yet record-breaking ultramarathon, Owens, a professor of business ethics, detailed the events that led to Young’s unexpected win of the Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon in 1983. The 61-year-old farmer was armed with only a rusty old van, an inexperienced road crew and the resolve to run the race by doing what felt right to him.

Amidst a series of mishaps, the farmer got lost, injured his shoulder, survived on canned food alone and slept for no more than three hours a night. However, Owens explained that “a key reason why Cliff Young won was that almost nothing went right for him the first day of the race.”

Brad Owens delivers devotional address in the Marriott Center at BYU
Photo by Abby Shelton/BYU

Owens related this heroic story to the race of mortal life. Using the acronym RACE, he gave four key suggestions to help us patiently run the race of mortal life, regardless of current challenges or perceived disadvantages.

Repent and Realign Continually
Every runner must continually realign themself to stay on the right path. In our individual lives, realignment comes in the form of daily repentance.

“This principle is emphasized first because much more important than our speed or pacing, is whether our current direction is aligned with our final desired destination,” Owens said.

Anticipate and Accept Adversity
Each of us will experience significant forms of adversity in this life. It is part of God’s plan.

Brad Owens speaks at BYU Devotional
Photo by Abby Shelton/BYU

Instead of viewing our trials with resentment, we can view adversity through the lens of hope, trusting in God’s eternal promises. With this perspective, Owens promised that we will begin to “anticipate and accept adversity as a vital, meaningful part of the journey.”

Although we do not know what adversity will come our way, Owens explained that “we can prepare now by accepting this reality, working to build positive coping mechanisms and resilience, and setting our hearts upon eternal things that do not change.”

Cleave Unto Christ and Covenants
Luckily for us, we have the best crew chief imaginable in this race of life, as Owens acknowledged.

“In contrast to Cliff Young’s inexperienced road crew, Jesus Christ has been leading and empowering souls to successfully complete this mortal race for a very long time,” Owens said.

Jesus Christ guides us along the covenant path and can bless us with an infinite supply of spiritual power as we make temple attendance a priority in our lives.

Student writes notes in a notebook during Brad Owens's devotional address
Photo by Abby Shelton/BYU

Endure to the End
Just as Young completed his race step by step, spiritual progress is made through simple and repeatable actions.

When we combine basic gospel principles such as prayer, scripture study and joyful repentance, Owens assured that “our strength and momentum really begin to build, and we begin to love the race. We gain a growing clarity, and even certainty that because of Christ, we can successfully reach the celestial finish line.”

Owens concluded with the assurance that “regardless of perceived disadvantages or limited experience, or past mistakes, or the fact that life hasn’t been going well lately, we all can successfully make it because of Jesus Christ. For we are promised that those who center their hope on Him 'will run and not be weary and walk and not faint.'"

Written by Melissa Jenson