5.4 miles with God

In a few short weeks, some family and I will be in Las Vegas to walk and run the Rock N Roll Marathon. We will stand on those harrowed streets where death swept through the spaces of people and carefree spirits, where music danced in the air to the sound of bullets whizzing by, where evil moved in the darkness of the sunset. It is simply impossible to make sense of such horror as one searches for any semblance of reason behind the nonsense. My heart breaks for those who were forced to endure the sights and sounds and fear in the air of the greatest mass murder in American history. It simply is not fair. Justice will never be served for the lives taken. Justice will never be found for the hearts and minds forever changed by the experience of such a terror.

Yet in the midst of this horror, when tragedy has become the American way, there is peace. I found it the other day in my 5.4 miles with God. I found the peace that surpasses understanding. I dwelled in the presence of everything Holy. I touched the healing power of complete surrender. In the middle of that 5.4 mile walk, when it was just me, God and the sidewalk, a song came through Pandora I had not heard before. It was Frontiers by Vertical Worship. Have you ever had one of those moments when you just know a song plays at just the right time because you need to hear it? That was me on the pavement, moving forward one step at a time. As I counted the miles and reflected on how far I had walked yet still had to go, I realized how easy it is to look back at where I have been. How easy it is to focus on the failures. To count the number of times I have said something like this, “Tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will be a fresh start. Tomorrow will be the beginning of the change I need right now”. Only to reach tomorrow and walk in those same steps I took yesterday and so many other yesterdays before.

The song says this:
I cannot feel Your love so strong and still
From where I’ve hidden
I cannot hear Your voice above my will
But still You listen
And all the while
You call me to Your grace
All that I undid fades
Lead me to the end of myself
Take me to the edge of something greater
I am standing on the great frontiers
Of Your love, of Your love
You have overcome my deepest fears
With Your love, with Your love

I love these seven words: lead me to the end of myself. And then these: take me to the edge of something greater. Because that is what I face every day. It is what we all face every day if we are truly willing to look deep into the depth of our souls and realize our will is strong. Our desire to hide the things that shake us up and cause us to stumble is great. Those hidden struggles that suck the life and energy out of us. As my feet hit the pavement, one step in front of the other, I was in awe of the song God put through my ear buds at just the right time. I so needed to hear this song. I so needed the reassurance that even when I hide, when I feel like such a failure, He is there. He seeks me out. In those moments, I am reminded of His love for me. I am reminded of His provision. I am reminded of His sovereign will for my future. 

 The song says You have overcome my deepest fears. I think it is so easy for all of us to hide in our deepest fears. Satan wants nothing more than for us to fall into the trap of anxiety and fear. He wants us to sink in the pit of bleak tragedy and hopeless despair. When we fail ourselves, when someone breaks our heart, when people disappoint us, when that good thing does not pan out, God wants nothing more than for us to stand at the end of ourselves and lean into the frontier of His provision. God calls us to life and joy and peace and hope. In the midst of personal regrets and failures and feelings of impossible dreams, He is enough. In the face of tragedy and nonsense and unthinkable actions, He is enough. In the suffocating feelings of anxiety and fear and negativity, He is enough.

In those 5.4 miles with God as I trekked from one mile to the next, I sensed a peace that can only come from a sovereign God who promises to never leave me or forsake me. Change is not easy. It is painstakingly difficult. It is a mental choice to do the right thing. It is the deliberate decision to make the right choice, not the easy one. Sometimes it is the change of an attitude or outlook. Sometimes it is the change of an action or inaction. Sometimes it is the change of obedience.

I Corinthians 9:23-25 says this: I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

And Hebrews 12:1-3 says this: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

And when those good days come, when the joy spills over, when the happiness bubbles up, enjoy it. Squeeze every bit of positive, every piece of contentment, every moment of beauty and savor the gift. Nothing is promised. Whether good or bad, God holds our every tomorrow. He has our future and promises to never leave us or forsake us. The frontier of our future is known by our Jehovah Shammah –  the Lord who is there.

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