Warm Up: 1 Thessalonians 4:14, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.”
Stretching: Psalm 23
Run: I was running in Augusta, GA one evening in the spring. I knew it was getting late to start running, but there was this trail; a converted railroad track that I had run on before. Besides, it was a beautiful night and the temperature was just right. I knew I would be running into dusk and night, but I felt comfortable enough with the situation to give it a go. Now, I’ve written in other places of this devotional about running into the evening in unfamiliar territory, but this was a different experience with a different application. This time the trees completely blocked out the sky above. It was pitch black and I could hardly see my next step. But the last ¾ mile of the trail was straight and led to a bridge that crossed a river. From far away, it was just a small hole of light and like that night I used the sky above to keep me on the path, this time I used the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to guide me. As I got closer and closer, the circle grew bigger and clearer. Even in the utter darkness there was a light that led me to the end of the trail.
Last night, I went to a high school baseball game to watch a young man play. He lost his father to a sudden heart attack. I sat next to his mom who is a dear friend. She talked about life and shared her concerns for her two sons in a world that has lost all meaning. She knows all about my faith and understands religion, but right now, she’s lost hope. It’s a scary thing to lose hope. I think HOPE is the defining attribute of our faith, isn’t it? I mean, we can hold out hope despite all circumstances. As Paul so confidently boasts, “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14; 8,9) That night I was running in darkness, I still knew that there was a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. I was not lost; everything would be fine. My friend has lost hope because she’s looking for it in the wrong place. Until we find hope in the light of Christ, we can never know the peace of God which passes all understanding.
Cool Down: “Lord, I’m troubled about many things. When I look around me, everything seems so unsure. Sometimes, I feel like a the man who built his house on the sand and I live like everything I have will be swallowed up or swept away. Forgive me for putting my faith in myself and what I have. Help me remember today that you knit me in my mother’s womb; that you knew me before I was born; that you love me with an unfailing love and you promise that you’ll never leave me NOR forsake me. I find my strength in you; you are my rock and my strong fortress. In you I find my HOPE. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.” – PattiSue Plumer, Olympian.