Marathon

Since becoming a runner about nine years ago, it has never been my goal to run a marathon. The longest race I completed was a 10K (6.2 mi.) and the longest run on my own has been 7 miles.  These days I do about 3 miles each day or sometimes 4 if I have time and am feeling good. I have learned to listen to my body and take a break when it needs to rest. This allows me to be stronger when I do go back out.

My main goal is to run for my health not to damage it. For me, that is what I would be doing if I trained for a marathon. Finding out I have the first stages of osteoporosis and that running is good for my bones only added to the many beneficial reasons for continuing this sport. I enjoy running and spending that time with God. I don’t want to turn it into something I dread. Besides, this is where a lot of these messages come from…my time with God in nature. I have the time to process, pray and receive. God teaches me a lot, but I realize it isn’t just for me, so I share it with others in hopes it blesses them as well.

However, when I think about the things God is preparing us for it reminds me that the opposite is true. It is in God’s timing. Most of the time He reminds us that it is a marathon, not a sprint. We can celebrate the milestones along the way, remember to take breaks, rest, and enjoy the beauty of the journey. We may not know the end goal of our trainings, but God does. We can slow our pace and take one day at a time.

Our experiences and lessons along the way can be used to help others. Sometimes, we think we know where we are headed only to be shifted in a completely new direction and focus. If we are staying our course, with God as the leader, we can rest assured we will get wherever we are going at just the right time. We shouldn’t settle on anything less. It may take a little longer but that is the nature of the marathon. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Anticipation

In today’s world we have instant everything. We want it now without waiting for it. Whatever ‘it’ is. But we sometimes must ‘wait’ on God and that isn’t easy, mostly because we aren’t used to waiting on anything else for the most part.

We can’t run ahead of God when we don’t know where we are going or what to do when we get there. Shortcuts just don’t work out as well in this arena. It reminds me of the story in 2 Samuel 18:21-32 when Joab was sending a messenger to let David know about the battle and his son’s death. Ahimaaz wanted to run and kept begging Joab to let him go too. Finally, Joab just told him to go ahead. He took the less demanding route and got to the King before the messenger but he didn’t have the message so he couldn’t tell David anything about the battle or his son– he only saw confusion. The King told him to step aside while he waited for the real messenger.

Allowing God to lead means just that- let Him lead. Sometimes that means waiting to hear from Him or making small steps towards a bigger goal, as we trust in God to show us the next step.

Since ‘wait’ seems like such a harsh word to us I decided to look up another word to use or think of instead. I like the word ‘anticipation’ as it seems more exciting. For me, it puts waiting into perspective. If we can anticipate God’s next move with excitement, we can find joy in the ‘waiting’ if you will. It’s like when we were kids and anticipated our birthday or a surprise gift.

God won’t let us down. He has the best laid plans and gifts.

Let’s look at different versions of this scripture: Psalm 27:14

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. NLT

I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. MSG

So, you see in this illustration another way to look at waiting- as stay with God. If you look at the definition for the word wait you see 1) stay where one is or delay action until a particular time. (Merriam-Webster)

Hopefully, in looking at it in the light of honoring God and His best plan as a gift that will be for us- it will make the waiting season or anticipation easier.

Morning by Morning

Looking at my phone to determine the weather isn’t always accurate. I realized this recently when I checked my phone and saw that it said it was 57 degrees only to find a different story when I headed out the door to a chilly 30 something.

On another day, it was not supposed to rain, at all, according to my phone. But when I got outside, the pavement was wet, and a drizzling mist was falling from the sky. This didn’t deter me from running but I thought in that moment that we can’t always predict what the weather will be until we are in it. We can be prepared for it and head back in to change or add layers as needed when presented with the day. In other words, we can take the appropriate action based on the situation as it is presented.

I believe the same goes for taking each day as it comes to us and knowing God will equip us with what we need to handle any situation that arises. If we are listening, and ready to respond with courage, trusting and being obedient, we don’t have to worry about being where God wants us. He will lead us to the mission He has for us when His timing is right.

We sometimes want to rush the process or go out on our own to figure out how to get the end results we want now instead of waiting. But we can trust God and know that waiting on Him is part of the plan most of the time and His timing is perfect. He may still be preparing part of the mission or people we will need to help us on our journey.

We just need to be prepared and ready to move when He presents us with the opportunity, without fear of missing it. We can rest assured He is always working and is preparing the way before us.

We can be prepared by having faith in the One who created us and chose us for the mission. Sometimes our days don’t go as planned but we can trust in God’s plan and enjoy the journey. Every day is an adventure when we are open to His opportunities. Sometimes we just need a new perspective instead of getting upset about the changes each day brings.  

…morning by morning He awakens me and opens my understanding to His will. Isaiah 50:4