Lesson From a Two Mile Run…part 2

Posted: 12/10/2014 in Life lessons
Tags: , , , , , ,

(Picture courtesy of Google images.)

Sometimes I make bonehead decisions.  Have you ever?  Let me see if I can help you decide.  The qualification for such a decision can vary in scope ranging from simple and honest errors in judgment to outright willful disobedience to a required standard…and everything in between.  Now, let me ask again…have you ever?  The truth is we all make them.  And, many times, at the root of such choices, is selfishness or vanity or pride in one form or another.  Case and point: a two mile trek into ninety six degree Arizona heat.  As you may recall, after the first 2.1 mile leg of a walk with my wife, she decided to head back to the house while I continued the next 2.1 mile leg with a run. At about the midway point of the run my first lesson came.  To sum it up: discipline + demonstration = decoration.  Finish Strong!  You can read about it in my previous post.  For now, allow me to continue…

As I approached the last half mile or so of my fateful run and well into my “discipline + demonstration = decoration” epiphany, I began to notice something new.  A half mile seems like a very long distance!  Despite the afore mentioned epiphany, I grew weary and disheartened.  Boneheaded decisions often leave you that way.  Generally speaking, having to ask, “What was I thinking?” after the fact is a strong indication that you weren’t thinking much before it…which only adds to the quandary.  I also noticed that my acute awareness of the remaining distance prompted me to focus less on the finish line and more on the expanse which separated us.  It seemed so far away!  My focus turned to the decision to run in the first place…What was I thinking?  Curse my macho male ego!  My attention then turned to how incredibly hot it was.  Why was I just now noticing this?  At that point, my major obstacle became the indecision on whether to “be a man” and finish strong or be a “wuss” and walk the rest of the way in shame and disgrace.  My gaze turned to the road directly in front of me rather than the finish line ahead of me.  I actually began to watch my Nikes making painful stride after weary painful stride.  How ridiculously slow they seemed to be plodding along.  Was I even moving?  I was in “no-man’s-land” trapped somewhere between a decision made and reaching its goal.  Ever been there?

After a few yards of staring at my feet, and against my heat impaired better judgment, I dared to peek upwards and towards the end of my course.  Just then…there…in the distance…I could see an angelic figure emanating from the heat waves rising from the road.  What a strategic placement for a vision of this sort…just between me and the finish line. Stride..huff..huff..gaspStridehuff..huff..gasp.  A few steps closer and now I could see more clearly.  It WAS an angel!  It was my wife!  With a bottle of water!  Ahhhhhh….refreshing relief!   From her crystal clear vantage point from a location far outside my male psyche, she knew to go home and return in the opposite direction to meet me with a bottle of sweet, cool, liquid, relief.  This is when lesson number two struck me.  Here it is: God provides benevolence and blessings for boneheads.  Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and quit rather than finish strong, a blessing showed up and met me between my despair and my destination.  Isn’t that just like God?  It was enough of a blessing to propel me with renewed vigor toward the finish line.  Truly, this blessing had transformed my exhaustion into exuberance.  Isn’t THAT just like God?

This is much like our walk as followers of Christ?  Not that the choice to follow Jesus could ever be construed as boneheaded.  But, be honest, have you ever second guessed yourself?  I have.  Have you ever grown weary in the race set before you?  I have.  Have you ever wondered,“What am I doing?”…or…“how did I get here?”  I have.  Did you ever think, “The goal is so far away…I don’t have enough left to get there?”  I have.  Perhaps you have made a boneheaded decision or two along your path of following Jesus and wondered, “Can I ever get back on course?”  Or, perhaps your second guessing has sounded like this: “I thought things would get easier when I chose to follow Jesus…look at how easy those non-believers have it!” Once again, I have, I have, I have!

Take a look at this passage of Scripture from the Psalms:

Psalm 37:23-31 (BBE)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he takes delight in his way. 24 Even if he has a fall he will not be without help: for the hand of the Lord is supporting him. 25 I have been young, and now am old, but I have not seen the good man without help, or his children looking for bread. 26 All the day he is ready to have mercy and to give; his children are a blessing. 27 Be turned from evil, and do good; and your place will be forever. 28 For the Lord is a lover of righteousness, and takes care of his saints; they will be kept safe forever; but the seed of the evil-doers will be cut off.29 The upright will have the earth for their heritage, and will go on living there forever. 30 The mouth of the good man says words of wisdom; the talk of his tongue is of righteousness. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; he will never make a false step.”

Is your heart bent towards humble service to God and King Jesus?  Have you counted the cost and taken up your cross to follow Him?  If so, rest assured.  Your steps have been ordered toward the Prize.  Along the way you may wax boneheaded as I frequently do, but that is not the end.  As long as you are walking with a heart to please God, He can direct your course…even if you take a wrong turn or two.  Some people find this hard to believe but, believe it or not, God knew about your less than wise decision before you made it.  What’s more, He had the plan in place to steer you back.  That’s what I call “Benevolent Blessing for Boneheads.”  Father’s mercies are new every morning.  By God’s great mercy, we do not receive what we are worthy of…By His great grace, we do receive what we are not worthy of.

Another appropriate passage of Scripture that is worthy of your time and attention is Psalm 73.  Read the whole thing and discover how the psalmist felt about his choice to follow God and his assessment of those who chose not to.  Read about his final resolve and the source of his conclusion.  You may be surprised to find you are not alone.  In fact, you are in good company.  We will all grow weary from time to time as we run this race called “following Jesus.”  Sometimes it will be due to bonehead decisions. Other times it will be because life just happens.  To everyone.  That’s not the time to look at your feet. That’s just when you would be wise to look up and maintain your focus on the goal.  Keeping your eyes on the prize you will discover that God has riddled your path with blessings on the way to the finish line.  He knows how much you can take. He knows what you need and when you need it.  He is never late, although, sometimes we wonder.  He places blessings and lessons strategically between your despair and your destination.  They are there for all who endure to the end…and for those who will seek them out.  Whatever you do, don’t look back!

…but that’s another lesson.

…Peace and Blessings…

~ joe


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