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, January 14, 2013

But Lord, I Don't Want to Run Today!

That's the way I felt when I woke this morning. The alarm clock sounded. I hopped out of bed, opened the door to let the dogs out, and recoiled as the cold blast of air forced its way into the opening. That's when I knew, I didn't want to run.

My plan was only 3 miles...but even though it would only take a half hour or so to get it done, I didn't want to. But today was day 14 of Janathon, that pesky silly challenge I signed up for late last year. You know, the one that says I'm supposed to work out and blog about it every day.

It sounded good when everyone was making New Year's resolutions, when I was running in comfortable 500 temps. This morning with the wind howling and the mercury hovering just above 200, not so much.

Twenty four degrees and windy may sound like perfectly suitable conditions to those who reside up north, but down here it's downright miserable. I seldom ever run in any more than shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt, but today I bundled up. Sweat pants, sweatshirt, long sleeved t-shirt, knit cap, gloves, and a running jacket.

I finally hit the road after strapping on all the clothes I could stand. Three miles. That's all I had to suffer through. Off, into the cold I went. The first mile was the toughest, and the slowest. I had to stop and walk across a sizable sheet of ice, then stop and wait on traffic before I crossed an intersection.

The rest went off pretty much uneventful though. I was warmed up after mile one and all the dread was gone. It was still cold, but not the miserable kind of cold that assailed me when I first began. After a first mile at an 11:06 pace, the second and third clicked off at 10:16 and 10:04, respectively. Overall, I finished the run with an average 10:29 pace. Respectable enough given the conditions.

As has been the case all this month, the physical part of the run showed me a spiritual parallel with life. We all come to times in our life when we know what we're supposed to do, but we just don't want to.
" 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord."
-- Jonah 1:1-3

Everyone knows the story of Jonah and the whale, at least the part where Jonah was swallowed up and spit out. But some may not know what happened to put Jonah in the position to be eaten by the fish.

Jonah didn't have any doubt what he was supposed to do. His orders came direct from God Himself. There wasn't any, maybe I should do this, or I'm not sure what God's will is, or maybe I just misunderstood. God gave Jonah an order! He knew exactly what he was supposed to do. But he was afraid.

So he ran. He ran the other direction, away from Nineveh, away from what God had ordered, away from what he was supposed to do.

But Jonah couldn't escape. God had a plan. God had set a task before him and had no intention of being denied. He just wasn't having any of it. So He sent a storm and had Jonah cast into the sea where the whale swallowed him.

Jonah didn't get away. The whole fish thing convinced him it might have been easier to just do what he was supposed to from the start. So God had the fish dump him on the ground and Jonah had learned his lesson. Once again on dry land and safe, he headed for Nineveh and did the Lord's bidding.
"So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." -- 1 Peter 4:19

Usually, when we know there's something we're supposed to do and don't do it, it's because of fear. Fear of pain, discomfort, suffering of some sort or another. But we're told not to fear suffering that results from doing God's will, doing what's right. Even in the face of that fear, we're told to "continue to do good," to move forward and work to do God's will.

Just like Jonah, we'll regret it if we don't. If we turn and run because we fear danger, if we refuse to do what God wants us to do, things aren't going to be easy. We can't run from God and find peace, and we can't avoid our responsibilities and find satisfaction. If we want to be content as we walk through this life, it won't come unless we work to always do what we know we're supposed to do.

There will be times, just like with Jonah, and just like this morning's run, that we won't want to do it. Fear will take hold and work to convince us to turn and run. But if we'll trust in Jesus, our "faithful Creator," and step out in faith, we'll make it through and be glad we did.

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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