Last week during one of my runs I drew a spiritual correlation that occurred through my legs as I’m adjusting to barefoot running (and simply getting back in shape). It wasn’t a profound discovery, but it certainly landed in the midst of pounding the pavement.
Often, I believe, we don’t really expect hardship when it comes to following Jesus. We hear the promises of a blessed life and our minds drift to the idea that following God leads to immediate tangible results. However, I’ve found that the Christian life rarely operates in immediacy. It doesn’t take long in searching the pages of Scripture to discover that God’s sense of timing is much different than ours. The other truth is that we often grow the most in times of trial and tribulation. To quote Elizabeth Elliot, …not to make us happy, but to make us holy.
I was musing on all this during my run and I thought of a conversation I had with our pastor last week. He was speaking of longevity in ministry and he referred to the title of the book by Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. I’ve never read the book, but the title alone is quite profound.
I can tell you from various seasons of running throughout the years that I have some days where it feels like I can run forever and other days where my legs and lungs seem to oppose every step. But, if I keep running, despite the results of one day, I discover definite benefits from the hours on the road.
It’s no surprise that the Scriptures compare running to our relationship with God. More importantly, the run isn’t a 100 yard dash. It’s a long, long marathon. Or, to quote Peterson, a long obedience in the same direction. We may get sidetracked along the way. We’ll certainly stumble, fall, and feel like giving up. But it’s not a 100 yard dash of obedience. It’s a long pursuit of holiness. We continue our pursuit of faithfulness day in and day out and do our best to simply keep running the race. The apostle Paul says it this way:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)
Continue running friends.
Til next time,