Written by Leanna Westerhof. Media by Max Gensler
Heart pounding in time with my feet slapping against the pavement, my breath labored, sweat beading on my forehead, okay, I lied…the sweat is dripping off my forehead like a steady irrigation system, and for once I am alone with God. Not necessarily speaking, just spending time with Him. It is one of my favorite things about running, and running is not one of the things that I love most in this world. I find that it is a great time to let my thoughts wander and see where they take me. A time where I don’t think about homework, other people’s problems, the fact that I miss everyone from home, Spanish; instead it is a time where I can let go of all my worries. The other night while I was running I started thinking about my personal walk with God. Four questions went through my mind:
I like to think that I am pursuing God in everything that I do. But am I really? Trying to follow His will and be obedient to Him is hard, and how do we know we are actually following His will? The road is filled with potholes, traffic cones, detours, and sometimes is just a plain old dead end. It forks and twists and loops back around and sometimes you are right back where you started. Every day we try to be Christ-like in everything do we follow the example that Jesus has set for us, and every day we fail. The Bible says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) Running with endurance is the part that strikes me the most, we must keep up our pace and never give up. What we sometimes forget is God is pursuing us as well, He is running towards us just as we are running towards Him.
Is God beside me the whole time? Sometimes, He feels absent in my life and I am absolutely alone. Other times He is always there and I can call Him mine. Do I keep Him close or do I push Him away? He is the best friend that I will always have and who is always there when I need Him or want Him. Every day I have the choice to walk as if God is beside me or I can choose to ignore Him. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) God gives me strength, and when I am going through a hard time I like to go for a walk and imagine God beside me holding my hand and transferring His strength to me. Don’t walk away from God when the tough times come around, ask Him to stick around and take a walk or a run with you.
Maybe you know the story of Jonah? God commanded him to go to Ninevah, and instead Jonah ran away and God pursued him using a storm and a whale. Jonah dragged his heels in following God’s will. There are times that we all have felt nudges from God to be obedient, and there are times where we all have ignored those feelings. I know I’m not the only one. It’s possible that you don’t want to follow God because His plans are not aligned with yours. You have this picture perfect plan of your future and then God throws a curveball or puts up a roadblock and you don’t understand. Yet, we have free will so we are able to choose our own path. The real question is, are we going to be obedient to God or end up like Jonah? Perhaps God knows what is better for us than we know ourselves.
Maybe, I’m not even stopping to listen to God and instead doing what I want to do. This way if I don’t stop and listen to Him I won’t have to do what He wants me to do. I can run with the wind rushing in my ears and be deaf to all He says. There is no guilt because as far as I am concerned God hasn’t told me any different. Nevertheless I can’t say that I had a good run, I didn’t pace myself and didn’t listen to my Coach. If I want to pace myself and make it to the end I can’t only rely on myself. I need my Coach. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon.” 2 Timothy 4:7-9 (ESV)