One of my many hats at Wal Mart is that of a “thrower” of trucks. This means that I climb into an 18-wheel truck with between 1300-2100 pieces of merchandise, then place then on a long device which conveys the item to other people who put it where it belongs.
When throwing a truck, you are right up against the (seemingly) endless and infinately tall wall of boxes that you are throwing onto the line. While this is the place where the thrower can do the most good (indeed, he is no good anywhere else), he is also incredibly unable to predict what is coming next, or to see how much is left in the truck.
While the thrower is able to see progress based on the amount of space between the back of the truck and where he stands at that moment, he is still entirely unable to see how far is left, or what will be coming next. He relys completely upon a helper, one who not only pushes the freight on down the line so that the thrower has room to continue working, but is far enough away from the wall of obstacles to see not only what is coming, but how much of the truck is left. The thrower must listen to the helper if they are to succeed at throwing the truck without causing a wall of merchandise to fall upon them, and to prevent them breaking many items in the process.
In the same way, we are so close to our lives, to our work (for Christ, not necessarily our jobs), which is exactly where we must be to remain useful for the kingdom, yet we are unable to see the future, we don’t know what might be just over that next box of Cheetos- is it a lawn mower ready to fall atop you, or a box of pillows waiting to land easily on the line? It is only through listening to, and building an intimate relationship with the Helper that Christ sent us that we will be able to be effective in our lives, and not grow despondent and fear of ever reaching the goal for which we run. We don’t know what is next, or how far to the end of the truck (or our race), but we do have personal access to someone who does, who lives inside of each of us who are saved through the blood of Christ Jesus.