I’ve been thinking back on a major adventure I took one year ago – running a half marathon. The journey itself actually began in January of 2011 when I started running with a friend – in an effort to be more healthy and fit. We went from barely gutting out a few blocks in January to running a 5K in March and 13.1 miles in October. Since then we’ve continued to run – adding another friend. This weekend, the three of us will run that race together! I am both nervous and excited all at the same time. I know that God has amazing things in store for us, and I can’t wait to see them!
I wonder if the apostle Paul felt similarly, thinking about his journey from Jewish Pharisee to Gentile missionary. As we’ve reached the end of his first missionary journey (with the conclusion of Acts 14), there is so much to reflect on – how far he’d come … the adventures he’d had … the friends who’d been added along the way. Today, with Sunday’s race in mind, I leave you with an email I typed last year in the days following my first race:
Sunday morning before the race, I was able to have my normal quiet time. It was offering some insight on the training and preparation of Roman soldiers. It talked about how diligently they trained. So much so that when it came time for battle, they breezed right through it. Reading that day's lesson, I had NO IDEA how appropriate that message was for me right at that moment. Just hours later as we ran, I found myself thinking about how much easier this run was than the training I had endured over the last weeks (months really). And then WHAM, my mind went to that morning's study... The reason the race was so easy (and exhilarating) was because I had prepared my body for it!
At times throughout the race I was on the verge of tears looking at those around me (all 2400+ of us) – what each one of us was accomplishing ... what God had enabled us to do. Then around mile 11, I heard a band coming up (There was music of some sort at nearly every mile to encourage us – mostly Christian). The song that was starting was already very special to me ("He Loves Us" by David Crowder Band). Yet another glorious detail that God had put in place FOR ME. It is truly AMAZING the lengths to which God has gone so that we can feel His Presence and providence in our lives!! When I heard that song, I was overcome with emotion at God's love for me! Breaking down and crying in the middle of the road was NOT an option, so I just sang aloud and raised both hands over my head in praise and kept running – my race wasn’t finished.
Overall it was the most empowering experience of my life. I knew/know that the power that flowed through my body that morning did NOT come from anything in me. It came from God. Now, I set my sights on learning how to harness that power in every area of my life - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we could as or think." (Eph 3:20)