Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Long Slow Distance in the Crisp September Blue

Marathoners know that it is not the short bursts of speed and occasional sprints that bring them to the finish line.  It is months of faithful and consistent training.  Part of that training is known as the long slow distance, which typically manifests itself in a weekly long run.  Those runs are not to the swift.  The whole point is the perseverance, no matter the pace.  It is in the enduring that strength is built...and oddly enough, the development of fast-twitch muscles.  So as counterintuitive as it seems, going long and slow actually makes one faster.  It is building strength in me.

In spiritual matters, it is also in the dailyness of reading God's Word and praying that builds endurance in us -- not for an event but for life.  Yet it is not my strength that is being built, but His strength in me.  So a daily workout, of sorts, actually becomes a working in.  "...that the power of Christ may rest upon me...For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12. 9-10)  It is not me becoming stronger, but God building His strength in me.

And someday, in some way, His strength is revealed.

It was the most ordinary of days.  I read the Bible that morning and a short devotional, got the older girls off to school and my youngest on the bus, and headed out on a glorious run.  It was a beautiful day.  I felt like I could have run forever that morning in the crisp September blue.

I returned to the phone ringing, my mother's frantic voice with the news we now know as 9/11.

It was only later that the words of that little devotional book came to mind and deepened in meaning.  The reading for September 11 in Oswald Chamber's book My Utmost for His Highest concluded with these words:

"If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways,
we shall do nothing in the crisis."

It is in the long slow distance, the abiding, the dailyness in our walk with Him and in the running hard, that His strength is worked in, for that which we cannot know.

O LORD, make me faithful.

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