A great running story recently took place in our metro area, and you may have even seen this reported in the paper or on TV. Tyler Moon was rounding the 1-mile marker in early October’s Twin Cities 10-miler, and he was all smiles for his fiancée and parents who were there cheering him on. The twenty-five year-old had been losing weight recently and was in training for a marathon, but he wasn’t quite ready for that longer, bigger race just yet. So this 10-miler seemed the perfect choice. Plus, it gave him a chance to promote his Christian faith as he had his racing bib say “Jesus Saves” on it right where his name normally would have been listed. Shortly after he passed his loved ones, he began to feel that something was off. His breathing became ragged and his chest felt incredibly heavy. He kept going, making it all the way to the 8-mile mark, but then, the next thing he knew, he woke up in the hospital with cuts on his face and in a lot of pain. Apparently he had blacked out!
He had never had heart issues in the past, but it turns out he had experienced ventricular tachycardia, which is an irregular heartbeat that reduces blood flow all throughout his body. The problem had grown more pronounced throughout the race until it reached a crisis point, and Tyler went careening to the ground. Luckily there was a man nearby, who was also a nurse anesthetist, and his name was Jesse. Only, that was his nickname. His real name, surprisingly (and with obvious theological overtones) was Jesus Bueno. Yes, Jesus does indeed save!
He was the first helper to reach Tyler, but soon enough other helpers, some also with medical training, were at the side of the unconscious runner, who now was not even registering a pulse. An ambulance brought an AED which they then used to shock his heart back into rhythm. And they rushed him to the ER where he was treated and nursed back to health.
Tyler Moon had hoped that someone would be inspired by his racing bib and maybe feel uplifted and less alone. But he had no idea that he would be the one who needed saving. This was God’s loving care delivered through a young man named Jesse – also known as Jesus! Yes, this was God’s own loving care also delivered through the hands and hearts of a handful of others who worked to give care to a fallen runner who is very likely alive today due to their quick thinking and caring kindness. And medical skill.
This is a fun story and brought me a wide grin as soon as I heard it. Whether we proclaim it broadly on a sign on our chest, or whisper it softly through lives of quiet witness. Whether we show it forth through acts of service and kindness, or reveal it through an expertise that is useful in emergencies. It is always true. Jesus does save! And as we run our race through this life, it is great to trust in that truth, and wonderful to live out that promise. As Hebrews 12 says, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
~ Pr. Josh Nelson