I just walked, briskly, my first ever 5K. As I walked, I kept asking myself, 'Who knew?' Who knew what you may ask. Who knew that participating in a 5K could be SO deeply spiritual? Each and every time I thought I could do no more, God gently nudged me reminding me that I could, indeed, continue! I got so excited at the beginning that I decided to jog for the first 1/10th of a mile. Not too far, but when I turned the corner at the end of that distance, I saw the hill looming. The ONE MILE long hill. I was already out of breath so I began to panic and think I couldn't do it. The Holy Spirit deep within reminded me of Moses' words to the Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:6 where he said, "Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.’" I continued on the journey, after a brief break to catch my breath, and made it the mile marker 1. As if that is not great enough, it gets better. About half way through the course, there was a water station at a church. I was extremely tired and could have easily told one of the police officers that I was done. One of the people at the church was holding a sign that said, "Run the race with perseverance the course that is set before us." Again, at the exact moment I needed it, God spoke those encouraging words to me. Then I began to ponder that pericope in Hebrews 12.
"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses-" there were 5,098 runners on that 5K!
"let us lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely-" I really didn't want to finish the race.
"let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God-" Through Christ who is our strength, I could do this.
Shortly after the half way point, I realized I didn't have my "God Is Big Enough" bracelet on. Joni gave me hers and said, "You can do it honey!" I thank God so much for the encouraging spirit she has and her ability to know exactly when to use it! There were other encounters with God that have to be shared. Right before the two mile mark, a woman that I did not know, was passing me and said, "Way to go!" She didn't know me. She didn't say it to anyone else in my immediate vicinity. Why me? Ah, yes, God! On a little further, at another point of exhaustion, we passed a man with two, yes TWO, prosthetic legs and that was a gentle reminder that God gives strength to everyone.
So, who knew? Who knew that this journey that we have begun would be so deeply spiritual with God encounters all around? I thank God for the gift of presence and those gentle reminders that we are not alone because we have the gift of the Spirit living, moving, and reigning in our everyday lives. All we have to do is open our eyes!