In my quest to finish a half marathon in less than 2 hours I've chosen a training plan that I follow weekly. Supposedly, if I do everything this training plan recommends, I will meet my goal. We'll see.
Yesterday the plan called for my weekly LSD. Now I can think of 3 or 4 nonrunners reading this who will make a really incorrect assumption about what LSD stands for: long, slow distance. Specifically, the plan called for a total of 9 miles, 6 at goal half marathon pace, and 3 *easy* miles (someday I'll blog about that elusive term). The plan did not call for a thunderstorm during the last 2 miles, but that's what we got.
Now I'm not sure I've mentioned much about my running partner - on the road and in life - so let me introduce Bill. He's my wonderful husband of 24 years and we've been running together since I did my first 5k in 1989. He's a much better runner than I, but these days his focus is primarily on triathlons. He's not afraid of lightning.
So let me set the scene: we've already done 6 miles at my goal half marathon pace, and if those miles had been easy and comfortable, they wouldn't be my goal pace. So by the time I got to these last 3 miles, I was dragging a bit. Now sometimes dark storm clouds are an excellent incentive to run faster, but yesterday when I first heard rolling thunder I decided it would be a good idea to duck into a friend's garage and wait out the storm. Bill didn't think that was a good idea. He's been through ranger training with the military, and he's not afraid of running in some lightning. He insisted that the storm was way over there indicating an area about 5 blocks away. Not far away enough for me.
In the end Bill's reasoning prevailed and I ran the rest of the way home in the storm. And although it was a miserable finish to an otherwise pretty good training run, I'm still glad I finished it.
Pulling off my soaking clothes and sneakers on the front porch I thought about the very obvious analogy here: I relied on my faith in God to get me home safely in the storm. Did I pray while those lightning bolts crackled through the sky even if they weren't exactly striking the ground around me? You bet I did. Because other than ducking into my friend's garage or some other shelter, I had no protection from the elements until I got home.
And this is just one of so many situations we might find ourselves in, fearful, with nothing and no one around to help us. The Bible contains some awesome, strong words to cling to in these times: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Josh 1:9. Now God spoke these words to Joshua in a much more significant situation than I was in yesterday, but they can be invoked by anyone at anytime.
I believe that God really wants us to rely on Him whatever our circumstances. We've never gotten ourselves in too big of a mess or too hopeless of a situation to seek his protection, and he promises to be with us wherever we go. Isn't that an amazing comfort? When there isn't anyone else to turn to, God is still with us. Even on our weekly LSD, when we are silly enough to be running around in a thunderstorm.