Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How God Speaks To Me Through Running

The smell of bacon wafts through the air and gently wakes me out of a deep slumber.
It's Sunday morning and I have zero intention of getting up early. The moment of coziness in my warm bed is indescribable and my three year old has made her made into our bed during the early dawn. I am beyond elated that we don't have to rush to school, soccer or a birthday party. My long run will happen later in the day and I don't worry about it - I'm just grateful to have this warm little body next to me. Her hair smells of baby shampoo, her body still squishy and baby like. I try to capture so many moments like this as I know they are true gifts of life.

We have church today and I am excited and curious all at the same time. Our Pastor of 21 years and his wife have just left our church - off to Colorado to retire and enjoy true mountain life with their family. We had a big send off for them and it was joyful and sad all at the same time.
Today is the day that we will hear a new Pastor speak - a man that has been chosen to possibly be our next lead Pastor. He hails from Boulder, Colorado and seems like a wonderful person, Pastor, husband and Dad.

As we sit in the pew, he begins his sermon with zeal. He is talking and quoting various scripture and I instantly like him. He seems like a warm friend with a genuine smile and I find myself hanging onto his words.

"We have to throw off the weight that entangles us. We need to run with perseverance the course that is marked for us, the race that is marked out for us."

Run with perseverance.

Wait, what? I think to myself. It can't be, this Pastor - our possible new Pastor - cannot be a long distance runner...

Running as an illustration for faith. His words become more powerful, and one can tell that he is talking about something he truly loves.

"Running a race of faith will require everything that we are - every fiber of our belief, straining toward God."

He begins to tell a story of how he wanted very much to be a basketball player in high school. As much as he wanted to play, the genetic makeup wasn't there and he found himself on the track team to obtain the coveted varsity letter. Like many young track athletes, he wanted to become a sprinter and yet found himself dead last in the 100 meters.

During one afternoon track practice, he brings a hackeysack and starts fooling around - playing and hanging out instead of warming up for practice.
The coach is upset and orders the entire team to run a one mile race as punishment for not warming up.
Everyone is upset with this young kid, especially one particular guy - a six foot two teammate (who happens to be an all conference 800 meter star) who taunts our Pastor about what he did and questions why he is even on the team.

Pastor tells the kid point blank that he is going to beat him in the mile race (it would be his first). The race begins with everyone sprinting way too fast as he kept his pace steady. By the time the third lap rolls around, he feels like he wants to black out, but keeps pushing. Finally the runners approach the fourth lap and then the last 100 meters. He starts sprinting and sprinting to give it everything he has left.

He wins the race in 4:48.

His first ever mile race.

The entire church is riveted by the story and I am sitting on the edge of my seat gripping Jerold's hand. 

He goes on to talk about his love for running - the marathons he has run and the friends he has made. One particular close friend of his that he speaks about is a woman who ran her heart out to win the bronze medal in the 1500 meters in this summer's Olympic Games. "Her name is Jenny and she never gave up" he tells us. Jerold and I look at each other and I grip his hand again and whisper - he is friends with Jenny Simpson!

Days later, I am still moved by the sermon and how God spoke to me that day.

Run With Perseverance.

"Running a race of faith will require everything that we are - every fiber of our belief straining toward God."

Whether you are a Christian or not, no matter what you believe...

We as runners can all relate to the pure and simple truth that we must always, always run with perseverance.

God speaks to me in so many ways through running.

Happiness Is Running Life.


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