It’s raining today. Normally I would be glad for a slow, rainy Saturday, perfect for coffee, a fire, college basketball, and reading.
But, I’m training for the Black Mountain marathon, and today is a big run day. 16-18 miles kinda big. In the rain.
When I got up this morning and let the dog out, my will began to waver. It was cold, raining, and besides that it wouldn’t be that “great day to be outside” feeling, heck it might be unsafe! Hypothermia at 5000 feet and 10 miles from the road is not appealing. I know that I can keep myself warm and safe, within reason, and maybe I run 12-13 miles on the trail and finish up on the treadmill. I mainly didn’t want to run when the enjoyment level wasn’t sky high for me. But that’s a bad reason to not do something. There are many worthwhile pursuits every day that may not get me terribly excited, but that doesn’t mean I push them aside. Even matters you’re passionate about, there are going to be cold, rainy days where you don’t feel like stepping out your front door to go make a difference. But you should!
To me, that is an important lesson, and the prevailing one in the training process. There is good and bad, love and hurt, pain and joy, all through life. But what is the thing we stick our identity to? When conflict naturally arises, do we go back in our office and lock the door? Do we accept the good runs and great times from the Lord, and not the steep hills and tweaked knees? The good weather and peppy mornings, but not the pouring rain and 12 inches of snow?
No my friends, we take it all, just like Jesus took it for us. We always see in Philippians 4:13,
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
But how can we as followers of Christ miss what precedes this iconic verse? Verses 11 & 12 read,
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
As a runner, I re-worked the verse like this,
I know what it is to run fast, and I know what it is to run slow and in pain, in great weather and in the pouring rain. I have learned the secret of being content on any and every run, whether having many gels or low on water, whether running for medals or just the morning sunrise.
So my friends, this is what we hope to learn. That no matter the circumstances, God is enough. He will give us the strength to step in to the mess of life and run the race set before us. This marathon is wonderful and challenging for many reasons, just like life. To set a goal, work hard, and complete the task is great, but not the whole reason.
I encourage you to ponder in what ways God has blessed you, and in what ways he may be teaching you to be content in his love and glory. It is a gift worth passing on.