Running through the Rain

Autumn’s goal last week was to run a mile without stopping. When we set out on our favorite path after school the weather was pretty nice. It was about 70 degrees and a little cloudy. Autumn asked me if I thought it was going to rain. I told her that it might, but that we would be fine. Sure enough, about half way through our run, it started to rain. That little trooper just pushed on through and kept going. When we finished, we came to the end of a road and turned a corner. When we turned, we saw the most beautiful rainbow right in front of us!

It was a really nice moment. The rainbow was a striking sight, and I truly felt God’s presence right there with us. Autumn said “I don’t even care that you made me run in the rain.” (You would have to know my Autumn to know how precious that statement was!)

We completely forgot about the run that we had just completed and instead started talking about God’s promises. Rainbows always remind me of the first rainbow, and the promise that God made to Noah in Genesis 9:9-17. They remind me that God always keeps His promises. Always. He is faithful to us and will not disappoint.

My Favorite Promises

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Matthew 7:7-8

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9

In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8

For He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”  Hebrews 13:5

These are verses that keep me running when I feel discouraged. They remind me not to give up and that I am not alone. They remind me to keep seeking and to keep doing good. When it’s raining and I want to quit running, these verses remind me of my goal. They remind me of God’s promises and His presence. He has not left me alone and He will keep His promises.

After the Rain

If we want to receive God’s promises, then we can’t let the rain stop us. Yes, it will rain. And, no, it’s not always fun to run in the rain. The rain gets in your eyes, which makes it hard to see. It makes the road slippery, so that you have to be very careful that you don’t fall. And let’s face it, it’s just not comfortable to be soaking wet. However, the reward is worth it. God’s promises are worth it. So, keep on running. If we don’t give up, there is a beautiful rainbow waiting for us at the end.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; Hebrews 10:23


What seemed like the only reasonable path…

About two weeks ago, I actually finished before my daughter in a 5K race. That was a first. I crossed the finish line to my husband saying “Good job. You even beat Laura Anne.”

I digested that information and began thinking. Wait. That can’t be right. She had taken off at the beginning and was way in front of me, so far ahead that I couldn’t see her, and I know that I never passed her. My husband had been standing at the finish line for quite a while and hadn’t seen her, so I knew something was wrong. We began inquiring, and received confirmation from the timing company that she had not crossed the finish line. That meant that she was lost.

There were two other races going on at the same time – a one mile fun run and a half-marathon. My fear was that she had somehow gotten on the half-marathon course and was miles away somewhere. We were at a sports complex that linked in with a state park. All I knew is that my baby was lost somewhere out in the woods, and I had no idea where.

It took about 30 minutes for us to locate her. We had the race officials radio around the course to be on the lookout for the twelve-year-old girl with the blue streak in her hair. Finally, a female worker found her and put her on the right path. Laura Anne finished the race in 57 minutes, when it usually takes her about 25.

What seemed like the only reasonable path…

She had somehow missed a turn at the end that would have taken her to the finish line. Instead, she had gone straight and unknowingly looped back around to the beginning of the 5K course, where the fun run was then being held. She ran almost the entire 5K course a second time, and started on a third time. She said she knew that it was a bad sign when she kept coming to the 1-mile sign, but she couldn’t figure out where to go. I was trying to figure out how she had missed that turn at the end. Was she following someone? Did someone tell her to go that way? Her reply was that the path she took seemed like the only reasonable path. The only other person anywhere near her went the same way, so she didn’t question it, not until she realized that she was running in circles.

Sometimes, spiritually, we find ourselves running in circles. We haven’t given up, but we know something isn’t right. We keep passing that same sign, keep doing the same things, because we can’t figure out how to get on the right path. It’s frustrating. Maybe the path we took was the only path that seemed reasonable at the time, but it’s obviously not the one that will lead us to the finish line. God tells us in Proverbs 14:12 

There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

Just because a path seems right to me doesn’t mean that it will lead me to the finish line. It may instead lead me in circles, causing me to become lost and increasingly frustrated. What makes a path the right one is not that it feels right, but that it leads to the finish line. During the race, there was only one path that would lead my daughter to the finish line, and it wasn’t the one that she had initially viewed as the reasonable one.

Someone showed her the way…

The only reason that Laura Anne eventually crossed the finish line that day was because a kind lady stopped and showed her the right path. It was a scary experience for my daughter. Now she can laugh about it, but it was a rough 30 minutes or so. To know that you’re lost but not know how to fix it is scary. I can’t imagine going through this life that way, and thankfully I don’t have to. That is exactly why God sent us Jesus and gave us His word. When I open the Bible and listen to Jesus, He shows me the path I should take.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

The path that Jesus leads me on may not always seem reasonable. It may not be the path that I would choose, but listen to what Jesus said in Luke 9:23.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

There’s nothing in what Jesus says here that is reasonable to our earthy senses! We do not naturally deny ourselves. It is not what seems reasonable, and it may not be what anyone around us is doing, but that is how Jesus says we follow Him. And following Jesus is the only way that leads us to the Father…that leads us home.

I just want to go home…

Home is what Laura Anne wanted when she crossed the finish line. Once we knew that she had been located on the course, our whole family went to the finish line to wait for her. I was restless and started moving further and further up the course, just waiting for her to come around that turn. I felt like the father in the parable of the lost son in Luke 15 just watching the road for his child to come home. When Laura Anne appeared around the corner and saw us waiting there, she started to run straight to us. I pointed her toward the finish line, telling her to cross the finish line first. We were there waiting. She said with tears in her eyes “I just want to go home.”

I know that feeling. Don’t you? And our heavenly Father is waiting eagerly for us. He wants us to come home, but He wants us to finish our race first.

The finish line...

Laura Anne’s wrong turn happened after the three mile mark. She remembers seeing the sign. That means she only had a tenth of a mile left to go. You had to make that one turn (the one she missed) before you could actually see the finish line. If she had looked around and made that turn, she would have seen the finish line straight ahead of her. She didn’t even consider it though. She thought she was on the right path, so she didn’t look around to consider another. There came a point, though, when she knew that something wasn’t right.

Sometimes I reach a point spiritually when I know that something’s not right. I know that I’m running in circles that aren’t getting me anywhere. Then I need to consider my path. I need to open my Bible and listen to Jesus. I may not be able to see the finish line, but I have to trust that following Jesus will get me there, even if it involves taking a turn that I’m not sure about. The Father is anxiously waiting for me to come around that corner. Jesus wants to lead me to Him. I just have to be willing to follow.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8


Dealing with Disappointment

runningOk, Lord, what can I learn from this? A dear friend taught me to ask that question when things don’t go the way I expect them to. Disappointment led me to ask that question earlier this week. It had nothing to do with the election and everything to do with my oldest child who just finished her first cross country season.

While only a 7th grader, she ran this season with the high school varsity team, a team that just qualified for the state tournament. She has been blessed with an encouraging coach and team, and the season was just overall a good experience. I’m so proud of how fast and strong she’s become, but I’m even more proud of her determination. She’s one tough girl. She has run in the heat and the rain. She’s fallen flat in the mud and gotten up and finished a race. Through everything she never complains. Never. She has been a joy to watch.

With all the good, though, the end of the season left me with a feeling of disappointment.

You see, for the state tournament, her coach only takes the girls on the team with the seven fastest times for the year. My daughter’s was the eighth – by 8 seconds. That means her season’s over, and I honestly wasn’t ready for that.

My mind knows that this is fair. My mind knows that she is young, and that this disappointment will likely make her stronger in the future. My heart, however, is not yet convinced. It hurts to watch your child work hard for something, to be so close, and then be disappointed. While my mind says everything is fine, my heart is sad, and I haven’t been able to shake this feeling of disappointment all weekend.

Ok, Lord, what can I learn from this?

1. We have a hope that does not disappoint.

Just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Romans 9:33

For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” Romans 10:11

For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 1 Peter 2:6

I love the promise in these verses that we will not be disappointed. I have to experience disappointment to truly appreciate this promise of not being disappointed. In life, there will be things that just don’t go the way I planned. This is a struggle, especially when there’s nothing I can do to change the outcome. It’s hard to hope and plan for something, only to have it not come to fruition. How wonderful that we don’t have to worry about that when we hope in Jesus! I can hope and plan with all my heart knowing that I will not be disappointed.

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

2. I should not set all of my hopes on things on this earth. 

I will hope and work for many things in this life. The same is true for my children. While these goals are good, walking with God must be my first priority. That is the only hope that will not disappoint. Why spend so much time and energy on less worthy goals?

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17

3. Disappointment is part of life.

It’s painful, but sometimes disappointment is necessary to spur us on to greater things. I have no doubt that even though my daughter is disappointed to not go to state with her team, this disappointment will fuel her on to stronger running in the future. Sometimes the disappointments in life spur us on spiritually as well. They remind us that this life is not perfect. There is only one hope that will not disappoint, and we should pursue that goal with everything we’ve got.

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10

4. I need to teach my children that setting all of their hopes on earthly things is foolish.

God’s promises are the only things to strive for that we can depend on 100%. Everything else is temporary. We can put our whole hearts into knowing and serving God without worry of how things will turn out. We will not be disappointed. What a beautiful promise that is!

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19