Warm Up: 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Stretching: Read Psalm 3
Run: The weather man was calling for highs in the mid-70s. That was noteworthy considering it was the second week in December; near record highs for that day. I had made plans with a friend to do some golfing. I got up early and did some work so I would be ready to go. I was waiting to hear back from my golfing buddy about another friend joining us and hadn’t heard from him. So, I decided to call to start the trash talking and get some information. You can imagine my disappointment when he told me that his plans had changed and he wouldn’t be able to go. He was in construction and weather like this was just too good to pass by when deadlines were looming. I was irritated that he hadn’t called me and frustrated that I was going to miss a good…no, great day for golfing because his plans had changed. Then, I decided to get on my running clothes and go for a run. My mind fought with me for a little while, but I knew I needed to run off a little steam. Forty-five minutes later, I had finished a good morning run and was ready to face the day with a brand new attitude. It was transformational.
The psalm you read today was written by David in the context of 2 Samuel 15: 13-31, where David flees Jerusalem because Absalom, his son, has usurped his throne. In context, David’s life is in shambles. His administration is in ruins. Absalom has already killed his brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar. Now, David is fleeing in shame. Life’s a mess. Our reality is not that much different from David’s at times: Life is complicated. But many of the Psalms remind us that if we put our trust in the Lord and seek first the kingdom of God in all things, then God will deliver us and make a way where there is no way. Did you know that over a third of the Psalms are considered psalms of lament? The psalmist lays out a lament before the Lord and petitions for intervention. But what makes these psalms powerful is their confession of trust in the Lord and a vow to praise Him when he WILL show himself faithful. God is not afraid to wrestle with us when we feel mistreated, neglected, or abused. In my story, I ran to ‘put things in perspective’ and it gave me a new outlook. The Psalms clearly teach that making our petitions known in light of reaffirming our trust in his sovereignty is clearly part of our worship as it relates to our daily lives. The Psalms declare that “God alone is our refuge and our strength; an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Run to him in times of trouble.
Cool Down: “Lord, today I’m run down, I’m running in circles, and I’ve run out of ways to cope. I have a problem that is breaking my heart and I’m not sure where to turn. Your word says you will not despise a broken and contrite heart. So hear my prayer, Lord. You’ve been faithful in my life. I remember your mercies and I recount your many acts of kindness to me. Lord, hear my prayer about this matter that troubles my spirit. Speak and I will listen. Help me to obey the Word I receive and I will praise you again for your unspeakable favor. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”