As the story goes, In 1974 an man named Gordy Ainsleigh decided to enter a 100 mile race called the Western States Trail Ride. Ainsleigh had competed in this course on 2 other occasions but in 1973 his horse was pulled from the race with lameness at the 29-mile checkpoint. In 1974, Gordy joined the horses of the Western States Trail Ride to see if he could complete the course on foot. Twenty-three hours and forty-two minutes later Gordy arrived in Auburn, proving that a runner could, indeed, travel the 100 miles in one day.
There is a story in the Old Testament where God is speaking to one of his followers. Now, I don’t know about you but I would confess that the idea of God speaking directly to me both inspires and scares me a bit. I’ll also confess that it’s during times of stretching when I most wish God would tell me what’s going on. Of course, what I really mean to say is that it’s during times of testing when I wish that God would speak to me a message of encouragement and strength, or perhaps a message of hope – that the season of stretching will soon be over.
In the story I referred to, God sortof tips his hand and shows Jeremiah that the stretching that he is experiencing is not only normal it’s necessary in light of what God wants to do in his life.
“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets? Jeremiah 12:5
This story comes to mind often when I’m feeling worn out by tests, trials, or days that are just plain hard. It’s not that I want to be able to endure gross amounts of hardship, or that I’m a glutton for punishment, but simply that God sees in me a potential that i’ve yet to realize.
This summer, if we’ll let Him, God will continue to train us for races of great endurance that we will run in the future and strengthen us to walk paths where the footing is questionable at best – all to make us people better equipped to bring God’s love to people in hard places. The challenge i think, is that we don’t even like our own hard places much less the thought of moving into other’s hard places to help them. I’m really praying God continues to change my heart about this kind of thing. I want to love the training as much as the running. … or at least take the training in better stride.
May your summer be filled with races well run.