Not very often and not very far ... just enough to tax my body till I feel like I can’t go any further, which doesn’t take much for me.
The reason I’ve started running at this late stage in life is not because I’m having a midlife crisis, but because I’m getting ready for something — Anniston’s annual Woodstock 5K.
After looking last year at how much the event has grown, and how much money and awareness it raises for United Cerebral Palsy, and how it’s such a positive undertaking that involves so much of the community, I made an open promise the day after Woodstock 2011 that I’d participate this year.
Where did the year go? Scheduled for Aug. 5, Woodstock is only four weeks away and I’m not nearly as far along as I should be.
I don’t have a strategy or a technique for running. I stretch, and I head out — one foot in front of the other, arms pumping, chest heaving, sweat dripping.
I won’t lie. It doesn’t feel good. It’s hard work, and the only thing that motivates me to lace up the sneakers and head out into the sweltering heat is that looming date on the calendar that I need to get ready for.
No wonder the Bible likens our life as Christians to a race to be run.
“... let us run with patience the race that is set before us ...” (Hebrews 12:1).
Studying, learning, growing, maturing in the faith is a progressive course that requires putting one foot in front of the other.
The Apostle Peter put it this way: “… add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
A step at a time, one foot in front of the other. There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth.
And it doesn’t always feel good. It’s hard. It’s a course riddled with hills and ditches and obstacles. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Just because God’s plan is simple doesn’t mean the life of a Christian is easy.
It’s not fun to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44), or turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), or to deny your flesh (Matthew 16:24).
And, as Christians, we take some nasty falls sometimes — falls that leave bruises and scars that last a lifetime. But we get back up, we dust ourselves off and we run on.
One foot in front of the other, keeping in mind that there’s a looming date that we’re getting ready for. It’s not marked on any calendar, but we know it’s closer today than it was yesterday.
When I said last year that I would run in this year’s Woodstock, I didn’t know the date or for certain that there would be a run this year. But I had faith there would be, based on Woodstock’s annual track record.
Likewise, signing up for the Christian race is an act of faith, based on God’s impeccable track record of doing what he says he’ll do. He said he’ll save all who, by faith, call upon Christ (Romans 10:13).
He also said he’s coming back. Are you running? (Matthew 24:46)
Hope to see you out there.
Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. He is the author of “By the Book,” available at local Christian bookstores or online. Phone, 256-235-3558. Email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter, acook_star.