Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Marathon Runners Meet an Unexpected Obstacle

Anyone who's lived near train tracks knows the hassle and inconvenience a passing train can cause. You're already running late, you're driving up to the track crossing, and then—the barriers start flashing. It's a frustrating feeling.

But imagine if that happened as you were trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

That's exactly what happened to more than 100 runners in Pennsylvania, as a train crossed the marathon course—and crossed it very slowly. One runner, who was using the race as his last opportunity to qualify for Boston, said that he "missed his qualifying time by eight minutes."

Race officials had communicated with the railroad line prior to race day, and had received "absolute assurances…that trains would be suspended" during the race. Yet those assurances didn't stop a train from crossing the course's seventh mile.

"The incident is especially regrettable and was quite unexpected," the marathon's account posted on Facebook, noting that those times that were affected would "be addressed on a runner-by-runner basis."

Potential Preaching Angles: We may have a plan laid out for running our best race, and we may have set goals and dreamed dreams, but one truth makes itself abundantly (and sometimes painfully) clear: "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps" (Prov. 16:9).

Related Sermon Illustrations

When Life Moves From 'Plan A' to 'Plan B'

A special report on This American Life follows the lives of several people currently living what they unequivocally call "Plan B." Host Ira Glass expounds his thoughts on an informal ...

[Read More]

Opportunity in Hardship

Jacques Plante was an amazing man. His career as a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, The Toronto Maple Leafs and finally the Boston Bruins included ...

[Read More]