"I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding." Psalm 119:32
Today's run was a bit earlier than usual in the afternoon, and so the mowers were out at several houses along the route. The noxious fumes were so strong from the mowers and blowers that I had to cross the street to avoid being overcome by them. A little farther on, there was a sweet family walking at a very leisurely pace that also became an obstacle, making for another street crossing so that I could maintain pace.
The Christian life is so much like that, isn't it?
I can see why Paul chose running as a metaphor for our life's journey in the New Testament. We often encounter people and situations that are poison to our soul. We can easily be overcome by them if we don't pass to the other side of the road to go around them. And God, lovingly, always makes a way of escape for us (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Others fail to mature in their Christian walk, and if we allow them to, they will keep us from maturing, too. We can walk alongside them for a time, but we can't camp there too long, or it will hinder our own relationship with Christ.
In some ways, beginning to run at the ripe old age of 51 has helped me to see and understand what it must be like for those who come to Christ later in life. It is all so new, and it is so easy to become discouraged when you look around and see the lifelong runners passing you by with ease. I aspire to be like them.
This week, I had one such runner slow down and run alongside me just long enough to encourage me. It was my son, reminding me that not too long ago he was right where I was, just learning to run. Then, he continued past me in his own race ( . . . and a little child will lead them all. --Isaiah 11:6).
It was just the encouragement I needed.
May you be encouraged today to run the race God has set before you.