Often when I travel I get up early and go for a run. I’d hoped to get up early this morning and go for a run outside, maybe even on the beach, but it was 38° F. I live in the South and it’s November. Anytime it gets below 40° F, especially this early in the Fall, we go digging for a winter coat. If it were February, it’d be a different story. Bear in mind, we’ve been in 90° F + weather for much of the summer and with the change it feels colder than it is. Running outside when it’s 38° F in shorts and a t-shirt is a recipe for flu season, something everyone dreads this time of the year.
Temperature change or not, I’m going to get my run in, so I headed down to the hotel gym. Then I set the speed and started running with music blaring in my ears and the rumble of the machine beneath my feet. I’m watching the cars go by outside wishing I had somewhere interesting to run.
My frequent running path back home came to mind. I imagined the smell of fresh air, listening to the leaves rustling, and feeling of the gentle soil giving way to each footfall. Suddenly, I realized what it is to be a caged hamster on a wheel. I’m going nowhere fast. I pushed on anyway. My heart was pounding. My legs were moving. There was sweat dripping from my face.
Then it hits me like brick at the bottom of an elevator shaft. Just because I’m not going anywhere doesn’t mean I’m not closing in. Time is passing. I’m getting more fit by the stride. My discipline is being tested. I’m pacing like a metronome. I’m productive! I’m just not in the place I want to be.
Isn’t life a lot like this? Sometimes, we need to wait it out in a place that’s not ideal to avoid being in one that’s worse, or being in one that’s worse to prepare us for a greater challenge. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t working or moving towards or fulfilling our purpose.
Jesus come into the world in the most humbling of circumstances, dealt with the most challenging people, some who wanted to kill him and ultimately did. He knew the course he was on was just, righteous, and he stayed on it even though it was hard. Though he didn’t want to experience the pain he would go through, he pushed through it anyway. He was patient with people who opposed him, and he waited on God’s timing. He knew that God has designated a time for everything.
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace. — Ec 3:1-8
We sometimes forget, especially in our world of fast everything to considering God’s timing. So keep your heart beating, your legs moving, and the sweat dripping while you run the faithful race.