I'm a runner.
Those words are true. I do run...most of the time. But it's hot outside this summer, REALLY HOT, and sometimes I have to walk. There have even been times when I have had to just plain stop and catch my breath before I could take another step. And there have been a couple of times in the past three years when I have fallen flat on my face while running, tripped over something when I wasn't paying attention. Once I got totally turned around and ran in the wrong direction.
It occurred to me the other day (while I was running), that it's a lot like my faith. I like to think that most of the time I am running toward Christ (or at least in the direction he wants me to go). A slow and steady pace that will cover the distance and get me where He wants me to be. Occasionally, when all the variables are perfect, I can find myself full out sprinting toward him! But I'm not a sprinter, and I usually tire out pretty quickly. I'm a distance runner. And THIS race is definitely one of endurance.
He never said this race was going to be easy. There are lots of hills, and running hills is brutal. They tell you to power up the hills. Put your head down and use your arms to increase speed as you go up and then lay off and ease down the hill. But in reality, sometimes I have to walk the hills, in running and in life. Sometimes it's just too hard to "power up the hills" and I need to slow down, walk instead of run. And that's OK. God is patient. He'll wait for me to catch up. He is the perfect running partner, willing to go whatever pace I set. No matter how fast you are running (or walking or crawling these days) moving toward Christ, is always a good thing. Any runner would tell you that there are times you have to walk, sometimes you even have to stop and catch your breath.
There are times when the run is hard and I have pushed myself too far and I just have to stop, catch my breath and drink some water before I can go on. There have been times in my walk with Christ when I have had to stop. No forward motion has happened. I have just stood where I was and drank in His water and took deep breaths of His spirit before I could continue on. And He's OK with that too. That's what he wants! For us to turn to Him when we can't do it on our own.
There have been a couple times on this run that I have fallen flat on my face, right in the middle of running to Him! I took my eyes off the road for a second or didn't see the obstacle until it was too late, and I fell... hard. It took some time off the clock but eventually I dusted myself off (ok so He dusted me off) and took some more drinks of His water, deep breaths of His spirit and started running again. Sometimes with a limp, and usually pretty slowly, but running none the less.
It has even happened along the way that some how I got completely turned around. I thought I was making great time, really picking up the pace, only to find out I was running in the complete opposite direction I was supposed to be. I'm not proud of it, it's not exactly an indicator of intelligence, but it happens. And once I figured it out, got turned back around, He was always there waiting for me. Ready to run with me the rest of the way.
"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1