Bam! Without warning, you feel a stabbing pain in your hamstring. You slow down hoping it’s just a slight cramp, but as you continue on, you realize the hard truth: you’ve strained your muscle. With each step you wince in pain. How could this happen? Why now?
Instead of finishing your run, you limp to your car. Waves of disappointment wash over you, and the next day you’re sitting in the doctor’s office.
For those who run, it’s likely that you’ll encounter an injury at some point. For some of us, it’s major. A torn muscle. Excruciating knee pain. A sprained ankle.
Even the minor injuries stop us in our tracks, putting us on the sidelines temporarily. If we keep going and ignore the pain, we’ll only make it worse, causing further damage. We must face the truth and get proper treatment, allowing our injuries to heal. Whether its surgery, physical therapy or prolonged rest, we must embrace the treatment plan advised.
The hardest part is waiting.
Waiting for our injury to heal.
Waiting for the weak part of our body to become strong again.
In the same way and because we’re human, it’s certain we’ll sustain injuries along the course of life.
Maybe we’re thriving and feel as if nothing could stop us—living in our sweet spot. But one day without warning, we’re bombarded, sustaining a serious injury. One that knocks us off our feet, leaving us wounded with pain. But I’m not talking about a physical injury.
The most painful injuries are the ones that wound our soul.
The kinds that make you wonder how you’ll ever take another step. The injuries that crush our spirit. Wounds from family members. Betrayals from friends. Disappointments in the workplace. Unthinkable tragedies.
If we keep going without addressing our wounded heart, more damage will surely be done. As deep as our pain may be, we must humbly admit we need help. For a season, we hobble over to the sidelines and cry out to our Heavenly Father—the one who heals. Because He heals in a variety of ways, His treatment plan is unique for each of us.
But one thing we all encounter is this: there will be a period of waiting. Waiting for our wounded heart to heal. Waiting for the weakest part of us to become strong again. This is when God does His best work. He takes the damaged parts of our life and turns the broken pieces into something beautiful.
Maybe you’re not a runner and will never experience the types of physical injuries I just described.
Perhaps you’ll never run a physical race in your entire life.
But runner or not, you are running a race.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul depicts the Christian life as a race. He urges us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
The Christian life is a long distance race we are called to live one step at a time. There are obstacles. Hills to climb. Sometimes we are running quickly at a smooth pace. Other times we hit the wall and feel like giving up before we reach the finish line.
Jesus started the race with us and is also waiting at the finish line. No medal or cash prize could ever come close to the eternal joy we will experience when we see Him face to face.
There are so many powerful parallels between running and our faith journey with Jesus! They paint vivid pictures of what we encounter in this race called life.
My book, Embracing The Race: 40 Devotions for the Runner’s Soul, will awaken your mind to these parallels. You’ll be equipped with scripture, encouraged to persevere and inspired with determination.
You’ll be challenged to plunge deeper in your walk with God!
Each day’s reading will give you a peek into the runner’s world, a fresh Biblical insight, practical life application, soul-searching reflections and a heart-felt prayer.
Kyle Idleman, best-selling author of Not a Fan says this about the book:
“Honest and fun to read, you’ll find encouragement and challenge that come from Bible passages and through the language of a runner. If you’re a runner, you’ll love this book. If you’re not a runner, there is plenty here for you, too.”
Embracing The Race released this week and is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle version.
Lisa Preuett is a follower of Jesus, wife and mom of two. An avid runner, she’s completed multiple races from 5K to full marathon. Actively involved in women’s ministry at Southeast Christian Church, she thrives on encouraging others in their faith. She resides in Taylorsville, KY. You can connect with her at www.reststopforthesoul.com