Warm Up: Psalm 119:11, I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Stretching: 1 Samuel 24
Run: Have you ever “turned your ankle”? It’s a common phrase in running. Although I never broke anything, I have had several serious sprains. The culprit can be something as small as an acorn on a cement slab; just something small to upset your balance enough so that your support base crumbles. This causes the ligaments around the ankle to be pulled as you try and regain your balance. Normally, this type of thing happens when I’m running trails; especially in the Fall. When leaves cover a trail, it’s harder to see rocks, exposed roots, holes, or anything else you might trip over. When I’m running on a trail like this, I tend to be more focused on every stride, trying to strategically place the balls of my feet on solid ground. As strange as it sounds, a run like this can be mentally draining as well as physically exhausting. When the level road is before me and I don’t have to think about each step, my mind is free to wander, which it often does as I listen to music or daydream.
Just like seasons can obscure a path with fallen leaves, seasons of life can make the path that we’re on seem more difficult and dangerous. I’ve been in seasons where I couldn’t discern the path at all. Haven’t you? Every step has to be more deliberate as I try to find the balance in my footing so that I don’t slip, stumble, or fall. Even what seems like safe footing can be a snare or a trap. There is a great visual word picture of this in our Stretching for today. David and his fighting men are in the Desert of En Gedi. (Doesn’t that sound like a planet in Star Wars?) Saul is pursuing David with the intention of killing him. While David and his men hide in the Crags of the Wild Goat, (Tolkein couldn’t make this stuff up!) Saul enters the cave…alone…to ‘relieve himself’. Now that’s something every runner understands, right? Imagine yourself as one of David’s fighting men in this moment. How would this situation appear to you? “Wow! God has delivered Saul right into our hands. He’s completely vulnerable. We could take him without a fight. Months and months of running away; hiding; living like wild goats in these mountains. We can end it now. We can go home. OBVIOUSLY, God has given us Saul.” Well, all except for the fact that Saul is still the king of Israel and God’s anointed. Even though everything appears perfectly safe, David saves his men from a snare; a trap! “Far be it from me to touch the Lord’s anointed.” This type of balance only comes from someone with sure footing. Knowing the heart of God through spiritual disciplines is paramount to keeping your balance and not getting hurt when the path is hard to follow.
Cool down: “Everything about sin tries to trip me up. Even though I live in a fallen world, I ask that you would help me not to stumble and fall. Prompt me through your Spirit when I’m on uneven footing and save me from myself. In Jesus’name, Amen.”