Warm Up: Isaiah 43:11, But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Stretching: Judges 14
Run: I hate flying. Actually, I don’t mind the flying, it’s the logistics of getting there and back. Really, what I mean to say is that I hate airport and airlines. They are a necessary evil, but an evil none the less. Anyone who has to rely on them completely understands. I had just finished the hassle of a commuter flight between Richmond and Columbus, OH, and was on my way to a ministry site when I saw a state park with a marshlands preservation area. It was nearing dusk, my favorite time to run, and I thought I would get out and relieve some of the stress of the day. It was a lovely trail, relatively flat that weaved through woodlands, bogs, marshes, and farmland. I started off to run my normal 35 minutes but it was coming so easy this particular day that I just decided to keep running. When it was over, I had run about an hour. It’s an experience called a “runner’s high”; an euphoria produced by an endorphin rush. I used to have them more often when I trained long distances. The ‘high’ means that you can keep running despite pain, surpassing what you once considered to be your limit. The result is a feeling that you could run forever.
Elijah stood against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. The power of God that consumed the sacrifices, humiliated Ahab, and brought the long, sought –after rains, coursed through Elijah’s blood and he took off running at such a clip that he ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot for twenty miles, all the way to Jezreel. Now that’s what I call, ‘flying’. Our Stretching today tells another story of what happens to mere mortals when the power of God falls on them. The angel told Mary that “the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of God would overshadow her.” (Luke 1:35). And the disciples experience the power of God when the Holy Spirit fell on them in Acts 2. I sometimes think that the closest I have ever come to experiencing that power in my life is a runner’s high; the kind that I felt in Chicago at the end of the half marathon where I ran the last mile so fast that I thought my feet would never be able to keep up with the strength I had inside. Yet Jesus said that if we had faith, ‘we would do even greater things than he did.’ It’s an indictment on my lack of faith that I don’t know this power like I should.
Cool Down: “Forgive me Lord when I feel powerless over my situation and circumstances. Help me to remember your Word and the power I have access to. I am MORE than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loves me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”