Saturday, November 7, 2009
Run as to Win
I went for a jog this morning. It's not a long circuit, and I don't jog fast; but at the beginning of autumn, I could barely walk it.
So I talked to myself as I jogged/walked about how much easier today was than yesterday, and how much easier yesterday was than Wednesday. "Self, I want you to remember that exercise is easier and more fun, the more often you do it!"
That made me think suddenly of prayer. Could prayer be easier, and more fun, the more often I do it?
I know this to be true about my bible reading. If I take a break from it, it can be hard slugging to get back on track. Just like exercise: if I take several days to rest, eat up, and relax; then it can be hard slugging the next time I set out for a walk.
Yesterday was intensely windy here. I'd had a difficult night, and I knew that if I was going to have strength for the day, I would have to do two things:
1. read my bible
2. get some exercise
So I set out for a run in the wind. I ran mostly to get it over with faster.
You know, I found it really difficult. My head throbbed, my eyes watered, my feet were sore, and I was making slow going in the wind. But I kept self talking: "I'm not giving up; I'm not quitting". I was half talking it, half praying. I needed to apply it to every area of my life at that moment. But that run didn't last forever, and I was happy and refreshed when it was done. Also, I was stronger.
Shall I admit that occasionally my "quiet time" with the Lord can be that way? Sometimes I have to make myself focus on the words I'm reading again and again. Sometimes I have to start over, and read it aloud to myself to make sure I'm listening! Sometimes I have to cry. Sometimes I have to repent of the same things, over and over. Sometimes...... Sometimes I feel alone, and as if all this self discipline in my bible reading is making no difference.
BUT. When I was feeling that way yesterday, the scripture came into my mind:
The Word of the Lord is living, and active: sharper than any two-edged sword: penetrating to the dividing assunder of the soul and spirit; the joints and marrow; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Living and active... Yes, that's right. Even when I don't feel it, the word is working on my behalf! It is a seed, that I planted in my heart, my mind, my life.
Sometimes when I plant my garden in the spring, it is cold outside; windy; drizzly; discouraging. But this makes no difference to the seed. It is buried dead, beneath the unassuming earth, BUT. The bible says the ground produces of itself! Soon the dead seed begins to swell with moisture, soon it begins to break. In its brokeness it sends out a root, and a tender, pale shoot. For awhile, you can see nothing, even though the seed is alive. You could go out to my garden two weeks after I've planted my carrots and say: "There's nothing there. It's not working."
But I can testify to you here, that it has always worked. I have always gotten carrots. This year, I had more carrots than I knew what to do with! They are still in buckets in my cold room, and we will eat off of that harvest for many months!
Can the bible be like that? Yes. Jesus said that the sower sows the word. That means that the one who desires a harvest in any area of his (her) life must plant the word of God. Sometimes when we do, it is raining in our lives. Other times, it is sunny and warm. Either way, we recoginize our need to seed. And we get up early one more time, reading His word.
Just the same, we recognize our need for energy, health, and strength, so we go out and jog, wether it is sunny or windy.
We just don't quit, and we expect a harvest. Living, and Active.