I had a Facebook memory pop up in my feed yesterday that reminded me that it was 4 years ago that I had my 2nd knee surgery in a period of 4 months. It was a long road to recovery, so I celebrated my working legs by intentionally leaving work a little earlier to go on a prayer run.
I'm not a strong runner yet; I have about 3 straight miles in me for now, but I will get better. And those 3 miles are invaluable to me. They are my outlet. They clear my head. They push me and challenge me - physically, mentally, and spiritually. They are painful and they hurt. Sometimes I gasp for more air in my lungs. They beg for me to slow down and give up. And in those moments when I don't think I can do any more, I keep calling out to Jesus for help. I pray for Him to provide me the endurance and the strength for one more step, one more step, one more step... and He does, if I just focus on that one step right ahead of me. And then, I notice a shift, and the pain begins to melt away as I get into a rhythm. The run that was fatiguing me starts to energize me. I start to feel strong and my body tight. I have a natural high. I feel accomplished. Peace and joy overtake me. All that begins to matter is this time that I have, just me and God, being completely reliant upon him.
Last night I realized why I have grown to love running; it's a metaphor for life. It takes me through a series of feelings, both in body and in mind. I get to a point where I have to make a decision, to give up or push through. And so I push through, one small step at a time. If I focus on what more I have ahead, I get overwhelmed. But if I just focus on what's right in front of me, God gives me strength. And I realized how blessed I am. How much I love to feel. How little I am and how big God is. How much I need Him in every moment of every day. How He supplies for my every need. How He is with me always, never leaving my side. And all the chaos that surrounds me, it begins to lose its significance as I focus on The Great One.
Blessed. Blessed I am. Blessed we are.
God's Hand is at work in our intricate lives; His love runs deep. He is molding and refining us. No matter what we are up against, He loves us and He Has already fought the battle for us. And He won.
So today, like the full range of emotions experienced on my prayer run, let's embrace life to its fullest. The joys, the heartbreaks, the unknowns.
God is with us. He loves us. He sustains us. He provides for us. He fights for us. He stills waters for us.
One small step at a time.