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Lessons from a Marathon Runner

Post1My pastor runs marathons. He is slim. He is extremely methodical. Nothing seems to stress him out. Even so, he has had trouble for years with debilitating headaches … the kind that made him stop whatever he was doing so he could go throw up. Recently, the mystery was possibly solved, when he was convinced to see a doctor after feeling really crummy following his daily run. Turns out he had blockages in all four arteries ranging from 75% – 95%. This means his brain has been getting precious little of the blood-transporting oxygen needed for survival, for who knows how long. A quadruple bypass was soon performed, and by God’s grace he will soon be back to preaching the old, old story.

That event got me thinking … there are some spiritual lessons here.

Three Spiritual Lessons

First, appearances don’t necessarily reflect spiritual health. Just because a person looks and acts like a Christian, doesn’t mean they have a real relationship with God. And just because I’m (possibly) good at wearing long skirts and going to church and quoting the Bible, doesn’t mean I’m a fine Christian.

Second, it’s all about the heart. “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” It’s easy to get busy with thinking and doing. Getting quiet before God and just learning to listen to (and obey!) His still, small voice … that’s pretty hard.

Third, pressure that brings pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it’s just exactly what we need to experience in order to get to the root of a bigger problem.

What Needs to Change?

Financial pressure can be pretty painful. But it may be just the thing God wants to use to help you learn dependence on Him, and real faith. It takes a whole lot of faith to give steadily to God’s work in times of want.

Marital pressure can be agonizing. But it often is simply revealing how woefully negligent we have been of following God’s blueprint for marriage.

Perhaps there is a wayward child in your life. Chances are you weren’t the perfect parent. (In fact, the only kids to ever have a perfect parent were Adam and Eve – parented by God Himself – and even they strayed.) But the pressure of that situation can drive you to a place of peace through full surrender on your knees. Don’t give up on that child, no matter their age. It’s never too late.