Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jogging With Jesus

Hello again,

I've been very busy but brain-dead, so haven't taken the time to write. Sorry about that.

However, this morning I was reading in Isaiah 40:29-31, "He [God] gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

So what the heck am I doing wrong? I haven't been doing a lot of "mounting up" lately. I get winded just from walking. And I'm pooped from running! If life is a race I feel like I'm always at the back of the pack looking at everyone else's south side. I'm breathing heavily, my chest feels tight, my legs are like rubber, and yet I'm running as fast as I can.

So what's wrong? Looking back over this passage I think I may have found the answer. It's in verse 31: "Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength." That must be it! But what does it mean to "wait for the Lord"? I hate waiting...for anybody, even God. I want what I want right now!

I suspect however that there is a deeper meaning here. I have a hunch that the psalmist was trying to say the same thing when he wrote Psalm 46. Let me dip in there for a minute: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear... The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold... Come, behold the works of the Lord... Cease striving [KJV= "be still"] and know that I am God." I think that sometimes I forget that life is not a sprint but a distance race. It is not about burning out for the Lord, or beating anyone else to the finish line, but about finishing strong, right alongside my Team Captain, Jesus.

"Wait for the Lord." Maybe this life race isn't about how fast I run, but how well. Maybe I'm tired because I'm running faster than the pace car that Jesus is driving. Maybe I need to slow down and smell the flowers more. Maybe I need to worry more about being a godly man and less about accomplishing more stuff in 24-hours. Hmm...could it be?

The apostle Paul talked about his race in his last letter, II Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course [race], I have kept the faith." He finished strong, too. But he wasn't a sprinter. He just kept at it, jogging along with Jesus day after day. He tried to stay in step with the Spirit, not running ahead or lagging behind.

"Cease striving and know that I am God." I've discovered that I'm a striver, always striving to be the best, the fastest, the most efficient, the biggest producer. My daughter, Simoni, tells me almost every day, "Dad, don't work so hard. Relax. Go take a walk." I think she may be on to something.

Lord, please help me to stop striving. Help me to learn to wait on You. Keep reminding me that life isn't about filling my days with activity, busy work, but about seeking to know You, whom to know is life eternal. Help me to stop substituting busyness for meaningful, lasting things. In the end it's all about knowing You, and enjoying You forever. Help me to keep jogging along at a steady pace, fast enough to make progress, but slow enough that You and I can still talk along the way.

Crazy, but still moving forward

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