I recently downloaded the ChristianAudio app onto my smartphone and rediscovered some books I had purchased a few years ago. In the mix was a book that I had, for some unknown reason, never listened to. It was “The Race Before Us” by Bruce Matson.

I completed the book recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here’s why…

It’s about Christian apologetics.
Bruce Matson is a lawyer in Richmond, Virginia who simply went through the motions of religion. He attended church and tried to be a good person.

Yet, as he approached the age of 50, he was confronted with a problem. If he really believed what he was saying and hearing in church, then he needed to take it much more seriously. If he didn’t believe it, then he should abandon it completely.

This book is about his intellectual journey as he began to discover if a belief in God was reasonable. Was God’s existence something we should blindly believe or was there substantive evidence as Romans 1:19-20 tells us? And what about the Bible? How can we be sure that it is God’s revealed Word to us? And what are the proofs of Jesus’ literal existence and the resurrection from the dead? And why is faith needed if we can reasonably ‘prove’ so much that is part of the Christian faith?

Bruce Matson takes the reader on the journey with him as he methodically, like a lawyer, searched for what evidence there was for the major tenants of Christianity. For those who have studied in the area of Christian apologetics, the names of those who influenced Bruce on his journey will be quickly recognized: Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller, Alistair Begg, R.C. Sproul, Chuck Colson, C.S. Lewis and others.

One of the final chapters includes his desire to see if atheists had sound arguments against Christianity in particular. What are their arguments and could he refute them? So, after reading the book he interacts with some of the arguments in “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. As only a lawyer could do, he methodically picks apart some of the major components of the book and shows emphatically that the arguments made by Richard Dawkins would never hold up in court.

It’s about running.
Bruce was approaching 50 when it hit him that he was horribly overweight (260 lbs) with some complicating medical issues. He realized that if he was to make the most of his 50s before old age began to really set in, he needed to get fit.

This book recounts (concurrently with his faith journey) his journey to physical fitness. He takes the reader on his first training runs with all of his frustrations and questions. As he progresses, he takes his readers on some races as he describes in great detail his experiences in the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon.

It appears that Bruce did not have a co-writer so I have to assume that he has an incredible way with words. As he described the sights and sounds of his first 12 mile run to work early one morning and then as he describes his experience of the Boston Marathon, you can’t help but think that you are there, running right alongside him.

This book can also be used as a running primer because Bruce includes the lessons he learned about running as his experience progressed. By the time you finish the book, you feel like you have learned quite a bit about the sport. If you aren’t a runner, you may find that by the time you finish this book you’ll want to go looking for some running shoes.

It was well written.
Bruce is an attorney. Digging into the technicality of Christian apologetics would have given him ample opportunity to write in such a way that he would lose his readers in the details and jargon. Yet, while there are certainly some technical moments in this book, it has the feel of a journal. It comes across as the logical, heart-felt reflections of a man on a journey.

As I mentioned earlier, his writing style also is so enjoyable that you feel like you can ‘see’ and experience what he’s describing. I would love to think that I will run in Boston one day and Bruce has given me a good idea of what the race feels and looks like. To some extent, I feel like I’ve already run it after reading the book.

It was well read.
I’m not an auditory learner. I’m a visual learner. Yet, the narrator for this particular book (Lloyd James) did a masterful job and made it easy for me to stay engaged. The quality of his voice, his inflections, and so much more made listening a pleasurable experience.

In fact, I usually find it difficult to listen to an audiobook while I’m running. With traffic to watch, potholes to avoid, heavy breathing and so much more, I often find that I can easily disengage from an audiobook. Yet, I went out for an 84 minute run last week and was able to enjoy listening to this book for the entirety of my run.

Conclusion
So, I would highly recommend this book, particularly to those who wonder if the Christian faith is reasonable. That is this book’s strongest aspect. The chapters about running simply illustrate the points he makes about his search for truth.

Yet, for those who need to get physically fit or for those who are runners (or want to be), this will be an enjoyable journey.