I had been exercising regularly in preparation for a 5k I was going to run with a dear friend. I felt I was fairly well prepared for the run, but then a week before the race, I came down with the Rona, the VID, COVID-19. Although by the end of the week I had overcome most of my symptoms, the congestion clearly had a lasting effect on me. So then the question came: do I still run or do I pass on the event altogether? Now if you know me at all, you probably know that answer already. I was going to run.
It was a beautiful 4th of July morning with a comfortable temperature in the mid-60s. I ate a good breakfast and gave my aging muscles a good stretch. All systems appeared ready to go. After being under the weather for the past week, I felt great. The race began and my dear friend and I settled into a comfortable pace. I was feeling pretty good, but then about a half mile in I started to feel it. My breathing wasn’t what it should be. I was clearly laboring much more than I should have been. At about the 1-mile marker I had to slow my pace to a quick walk. I told my friend to go ahead and run her race, but she said no, we are in it together.
After walking for a couple minutes, I felt ready to pick up the pace again. Unfortunately, I came to the quick realization that I would not be able to maintain the pace for an extended period of time. I started talking to myself and negotiating with my body. If I can make it to the next corner. If I can just keep pace with the people in front of me. This became my pattern over the last couple miles. I would run a bit, walk a bit, and negotiate with myself. And the whole time my friend ran with me. I slowed, she slowed. When I was ready to push it, she was ready.
Five kilometers later, we finished – together. And there at the end was my kind, supportive wife cheering us both on as we crossed the finish line. Although I am not sure if she was as much happy about me finishing, as she was that she didn’t have to send a search party out for me and drag my body back to the car.
Although I didn’t run the race at the pace I would have liked, I was blessed that I could run it – and finish!
The whole experience made me think of how much of this can apply to our spiritual lives as well. Our lives are often surrounded by negativity that can beat us down. Internally, we think we can handle it and our faith is as strong as ever. However, when we dive into God’s Word, we feel the spiritual fatigue. A fatigue we didn’t even realize we were experiencing. It’s only through recognition and consistent time in God’s Word that we eventually rebuild our spiritual stamina.
I am planning to run another 5k in the not-too-distant future and have started working on rebuilding my stamina. I am also working to build up my spiritual strength as well. I invite you to join me. Oh, and bring a friend who will run alongside you and lift you up when things get difficult.