Thursday, December 9, 2010

Running with Jesus at White Rock

I know a lot of people use their running time as devotional time, enjoying fellowship with Jesus as they run.  I have to admit I'm not one of those people.  I do pray occasionally when I run, like when I'm struggling during a race, looking for divine power to go on.  But running time generally isn't prayer time for me.
Sunday at White Rock, I came up behind a runner whose shirt said "Running with Jesus" on the back.  I asked him if Jesus was helping him out today.  Sure, he said, but ask me again in 15 miles.  I told him about one time when I asked Jesus for help in a race.  Last February at Rocky Raccoon, I was tired, hurting a bit, and running out of steam.  I asked Jesus, sincerely, to give me some strength to go on.  He didn't take long to reply: I didn't ask you to run this race!  I didn't sign you up!  You're on your own, buddy!  (All of this said with a friendly punch in the arm.)  I had to agree with him, and knew that my training and my mental and physical stamina would get me through the race.

My Running with Jesus friend, after I told him that story, was not too impressed.  "He told you that, did he?"  I said, yeah, he didn't make me sign up today, but I sure could use some help.  So right there while we were running he put his hand on my shoulder and prayed for strength in my legs to go on.  I guess I did feel a little boost there!  (I sure could have used some more of his prayers around mile 21.) 

I quickly let my friend know that I am in fact a believer, and that I do believe in the efficacy of prayer, and that I meant no blasphemy by my story.  I'm sure that wasn't Jesus I heard from on the trail at Rocky.  I know the ability to run, the time and resources to train and enter a race, the beautiful places to run, the very air, water, and food I rely on to run, are all wonderful gifts from him.  But I'll continue to rely more on training than prayer to get me to the finish line.

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