I’ve always loved challenges. That’s why many years ago I decided to take on the challenge of running my very first marathon. 26.2 miles was a challenge I knew I would never finish on my own so I invited a buddy to join me. We could encourage each other, push one another, and hold each other accountable if one of us decided it was too much and wanted to quit. The day of the race came and my friend’s faithfulness to push me throughout our training prepared me to cross the finish line that day. I’m forever grateful.
That one experience led me to invite others to join me in taking on challenges. That’s why we started The BCC Running Club. I wanted others to experience the joy of taking on a challenge, having others encourage and push them, and eventually cross the finish line.
Back in October a group of folks began meeting on Saturday mornings with the goal of getting some exercise and running or walking the OKC Memorial Marathon. I told first timers I would run the half marathon, 13.1 miles, with them if they would take on the challenge. Several said, “I’m in!” even though they had never run that far before. Our training together each Saturday was such a thrill for me! Then, around the first of March, I began to have back pains. I pushed through for a while. I cut down on my miles during the week. Eventually I only ran on Saturday. Then, the pain got so bad I just couldn’t…
The week of the race came and I was bummed, Connie said, “I think you are depressed.” I don’t know about that, but I do know I was bummed to miss the marathon for the first time since I can remember. The night before the race Connie said, “You need to think about something. The Lord used you to help other people prepare for the race and they are going to experience something they might have never experienced if it weren’t for you.” Then I got an email from someone who had come out on Saturdays saying pretty much the same thing. It got me to thinking.
Sometimes we set our hearts to do something for some reason, some good reason, but God has an altogether different plan. I now believe that this is the very reason I got up and hit the trails with friends for those months leading up to the marathon. My plan might have been to encourage others to run along with me during the race, but God’s plan was for me to help them prepare for the race…period. I’m reminded of one of my favorite Proverbs,
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 NIV)
My “understanding” of what transpired causing me to sit this one out only left me bummed out that I didn’t get to run. When I listened to Connie and my friend, and was reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6, my mind was changed. God had called me to be a cheerleader for my friends instead of a participant in the race. Now, instead of focusing on what I didn’t get to do, I’m grateful that I got to spend time with friends and that the Lord might have used me to play a small role in helping them prepare for months for an experience they will always remember.
I need the constant counsel of God’s Word and God’s people to help alter my “understanding” of the experiences and events that take place in my life. Left to my own thinking I will easily misinterpret the experiences of my life and throw a pity party for one every chance I get. My encouragement for you and me is to allow God’s Word and God’s people to inform us as we go through this life.