My normal running track is from my house to an elementary school that is 1.6 miles away. A 5K race is 3.2 miles, so down and back gives me a natural running course. I usually run this track once or twice a week ,but lately with the COVID-19 shutdown, it has been every other day. The first half is basically all up hill (the beginning 0.8 miles) with a few downhills to catch your breath. On the way back, you have two hills but it is pretty smooth sailing and you are on a down slope most of the way. Needless to say, you pretty much dread the 1st half and look forward to the 2nd half.
The other day, I was not really feeling like running, but knew that I had to get my exercise for the day. A daily routine is critical to maintain good life discipline. Still, my mindset was not completely right and the dread of the first half was accelerated. My mind was saying, “I don’t feel like doing this, I don’t have to do this, I don’t want to do this, but I am going to do this, period.” I had my good playlist on and just decided to focus on the music and keep my feet moving. Before I knew it, I had arrived at the elementary school and was getting ready to turn around. Then it hit me that the worst part was over, all I had was a few hills, and a big downslope to my house. My attitude all of a sudden changed to a better outlook as I turned around at the school sign. As my head turned, I immediately felt the pressure of wind hitting my face and chest. The pullover I was wearing began to feel like a sail, as the wind pushed the baggy sides behind me.
This meant that I was going to be running against wind resistance the whole way home. This situation is worse than running hills, coupled with the fact that I now had wind combined with a few hills to go. Then it occurred to me, that I had been running the worst part with the help of the wind behind me. When the wind is at your back, you do not feel it or notice the extra push it is giving you. It is only when you fight its power and run against it do you feel its presence. A great quote came to mind and an incredible lesson was suddenly whispered in my ear:
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” -Eric Liddell/ Chariots of Fire
- God doesn’t promise us that our path will be easy or we will not have obstacles or hills to overcome. However, if we stay on his direction, he is behind us all the way, giving us that extra push to get there. We may not always feel his presence, but his presence is real in all times of trouble, he is the wind at our back.
- The easier path maybe what we look forward to, a simpler life, or doing it our way maybe the mindset. The grass may look greener on the downhill slope, but if it is not your purpose, there will be great resistance that we are not expecting. Regardless of what you think, there will still be problems, and they hit you like wind in your face. However, this maybe God telling you, this is not your direction, I have something better, you may want to turn around, let me help you up this hill.
- I am not Eric Liddell, and I was not built to make a living on running. However, I do have a God given purpose. That day, the first half, the hardest on paper, was the most enjoyable. Why? Because I had good music, I kept my feet moving, and I was running with the wind. Life is much more enjoyable on the path of purpose, with the Lord behind you, regardless of obstacles. Just keep your feet moving and the music playing.
To close, that day as I topped the last hill before the downslope home, I looked to my left of the path. There sits in a yard, posted in between a pile of rocks, is an old wooden cross. This was just another incredible sign on a unique afternoon. I then prayed to thank God that he has given me a purpose and for always being there for me even when I doubt. We all have a hope for a great future (Jeremiah 29:11), but that does not mean the path will be easy. Obstacles do not mean to turn and run in the opposite direction. There is a great reward if we do not give up, and the greatest joy is found in the journey.
So if you find yourself going downhill against a strong wind, maybe your path of purpose is really uphill with the wind.. Just keep your feet moving…