This week I decided to start down a road that one of my roommates has deemed a bit crazy – and she’s probably right. I decided to start training for a half marathon. That in itself isn’t so crazy; lots of folks around here do that all the time. But I’m going from few and far between workouts to hopefully running 13.1 miles – in 11 weeks.
I did something similar last year when I trained for my first sprint triathlon in about 8 weeks. During that time, God showed me a lot of parallels between that effort and this spiritual journey I’m on. I’m happy to say that he has already started those little illustrations for me again.
When I stepped on the treadmill for the first training run I started to agree with my roommate. I thought, “This is crazy. I’ll never be able to run 13.1 miles so quickly.” I’m out of shape and out of running practice. But as that same roommate reminded me…I’ve done this before. While it’s a different goal, I’ve put in the work, followed the plan, and seen the desired results. And that fact is largely what propels me forward when I want to just stop and say it’s a lost cause. I have a proof. I have evidence that I can be disciplined and accomplish things I didn’t before think possible of myself.
Now for the connection. As I was putting one foot in front of the other in sheer determination, God reminded me how key that concept is in my walk with Him. I have a number of friends who are going through hard things. They are waiting on breakthroughs. And for one friend I recommended writing a list of all the things in which God has shown Himself faithful. A list of hard times that God ended and redeemed, promises fulfilled and just general blessings and favor. I’ve seen in my life and in scripture how important that remembering can be. Just like the reminder that “I’ve done this before” gives me the momentum to keep training, the reminder that God has come through more times than we can begin to count gives hope. It builds our faith and propels us forward to “run this race” that He has set before us.
The truth is, I’m human. I’m imperfect and I fail. There is a chance that, despite what I’ve accomplished in the past, I might fail at this goal. I could quit, I could injure myself – any number of scenarios could play out. But I’m still motivated by that past accomplishment. Now think about that God analogy. God doesn’t fail. It’s just not possible. Fine, I’ll give you that He doesn’t always do what we think is the right thing at the right time. But in the perspective of eternity – HE DOESN’T FAIL. Ever. So, if I am motivated by my meager little accomplishments, my soul should pure rejoice and leap out of this skin at the thought of God’s track record. The stories of His goodness and faithfulness would fill every shelf we could ever assemble. He is a faithful friend, ever merciful and full of grace.
What more motivation do we need?
I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken…
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.