Warm Up: Hebrews 3:15b, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.
Stretching: Exodus 11.
Run: I have a favorite loop that I like to run when I’m traveling. I’ve been running that loop for several years. It surrounds a lake and includes a beautiful stretch through a patch of elms that produce magnificent golden leaves in the fall. On this particular day, I decided to run the trail backwards. My dear friend and mentor, Dr. Darlene Graves, calls these activities, “Rutbusters”. Running that way, I discovered a faded trail that I had never noticed that looked to go through another wooded area. I decided to explore and ended running past some exquisite rock formations which made for some fun leaping and jumping. The ‘shortcut’ was exhilarating and the adventure of the journey was much more interesting than my regular route.
I may never have known that trail was there until I happened to come at it from a different angle. Many things happen in our lives which have the ability to change our perspective. What experiences have I missed because of rigidity, inflexibility, or my stubborn refusal to change? If I would have missed the gentle prompting to go a different direction that day, I would have never known about that trail on the other side of the lake and missed the joy it brought me that day and on subsequent runs after that. The scripture verse is an admonition to hear and obey the spirit of God. A stubborn refusal to do so leads to a ‘hardened heart’ and our Bible story today shows the deadly results of that. When Frank Sinatra released the hit, “My Way” back in 1969, he sang, “I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way.” That hard-hearted approach to running the race set before you only leads to a dead, ‘end of yourself.’ Instead, let your song be “Thy Way”.
Cool Down: “Lord, I recognize that there’s always something you want to shape and mold in me. But, I’m just like the Israelites in the wilderness who mumbled and complained in times of difficulty. Help me to see that my response to times of conflict and crisis usually indicate the areas in my life that you want to work on. Help me not to harden my heart to what it is you want to do, so that I don’t miss out on the promises that await me on the other side of your redemptive work. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner.