Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Monday, October 22, 2012

Remember why we're here...

That's what I've learned to tell myself for the past three weeks. It seems I was beginning to forget the reason we're blessed to be here, blessed with this ministry, and blessed to be able to run.

To glorify God!
"...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -- 1 Corinthians 10:31

Yes. It's hard to admit, but I was forgetting that. However, as He always does, He reminded me and brought me back down to earth.

After the Marine Corps Marathon last year, I felt led to keep running. God laid it on my heart to run two marathons per year along with the shorter races that I run each month. For a 44 year old man, too heavy and not looking anything like most of the trim and slim runners I encounter at these races, to have the ability to run two marathons a year is quite a blessing.

I ran along for about 9 months feeling like my running was just getting stronger and stronger. But as God made me stronger, a sort of fever began to creep up, the kind of fever that creates an almost unquenchable thirst. My training runs and races built my confidence and I began to register for more races, more marathons, quite a few more than the two God had called me to run this year.

I felt a need to qualify for the Marathon Maniacs. I felt a desire to run 3 marathons in 30 days. Then I saw two in two days and signed up. Before I could get finished with one, I'd signed up for three full marathons in the month of December. Even that wasn't enough to quench my thirst. No. I signed up for two more in February and March too. Right now I'm registered for 5 marathons in 4 months.

I kept telling myself it was to glorify God. After all, if God wanted me to race, wouldn't more races, especially marathons, bring Him all the more glory? Or would they bring me more glory?

Yeah. That's what I realize now. I lost sight of what God's plan was, the plan He revealed to me early in this journey. Two marathons a year. That's what He said.
"5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -- Proverbs 3:5-6

He gave me a little slack and things kept rocking along until I pulled the trigger on that last one. Just about the time I saw it, I started to develop a pain in my lower left leg. Nothing too bad then, just a nagging pain that pretty much worked itself out on my daily runs. But it kept getting worse.

Then, as the marathon bug began to bite again and I seriously considered registering for another full in early November, that pain got progressively worse. Still it wasn't so bad I thought, and was just about ready to click the link and sign up when a routine three-mile run brought me back to reality.

I can't pinpoint anything on the run that would have caused an injury, but I returned to our field house that morning with an out-of-this-world pain in my knee. I was gimping around, dragging my leg almost like Frankenstein. That ended any thought of a November marathon.

I told myself I'd give it a week and see how things went. After 10 days, I laced up the running shoes and tried again. It didn't take three miles this time. Somewhere between 2 and 3 I started to walk, turned around and headed for the barn. And that's when it hit me.
"because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." -- Hebrews 12:6

Long ago I realized the last two injuries I'd suffered, one knee and one foot, were God's way of convincing me that if I was going to run, it was going to be for Him. This latest knee injury is just a newer version of the same thing.

Somewhere along the way, I began enjoying the comments, compliments, and attention that came with being a marathon runner. Even though I always credited God with giving me the ability, the desire, and the discipline to keep hitting the road, inside I was swelling with pride whenever someone said, "I don't see how you do it," or "That's crazy to run that far," or any variation thereof.

Pride.

It had suddenly become more about me than about God and I needed to be reminded why I'm here. I forgot to ask God what He wanted me to do and just began registering for as many races as I could, assuming He would bless me for following my own will.

Now I've been sidelined for three weeks, and may well miss out on one of my favorite races to do each year. This Saturday is the Soaring Wings Half Marathon in Conway, AR. I'm hoping my leg will be in shape to get out and do it...praying it will.
"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." -- Mark 16:15

But it can't be for me. It can't be for pride. It can't be for anything but to glorify God and spread the Good News that Jesus Christ came down from Heaven, was crucified, and rose from the dead to save us from our sins.

It's not about me and I'm not here to puff up and swell with pride. We're here...I'm here...to spread that Good News and to become a vessel, a lantern through which God's light shines. That's why I have to run, and that's why I'm here...why we're all here.


If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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