Monday, November 10, 2014

Six Miles to God

God has His own way of showing you the way. In my last post I wrote, 
God feels very far away. My Christian "practice", for lack of a better word, has been paused for some time now. There is a church down the street that I have thought about going to many times, but have yet to go. Why isn't God leading me there? I don't feel led anywhere. Where is He?
I started training for a marathon. It's in February. I've registered, and I've been training for a good two months now. I'm in it. One day at work, I was browsing the Internet trying to find some races nearby that I could incorporate into my training program. I found a 10K that fell on a Saturday that was in line with my long runs that I do on the weekend. The 10K was at none other than "the church down the street." The 10K was a fundraiser for their orphan mission in Africa. With a small smile and a quick wink to the One above, I registered for the race.

Last week I needed to go pick up my race packet at the church. No, it wasn't easy or exciting or wow-what-is-in-store-for-me invoking. I very clearly did not want to go to that church to pick up my packet. It was like there was a roadblock to my heart and I was helping to hold up the bricks. But I didn't have a choice -- I needed to pick up that damn packet. Plus it gave me a reason to leave work a little early. So off I went from my office to the church, my nerves getting a little tighter with every mile. I arrived at the church, and after circling the building a few times because I was literally lost, figuratively as well I suppose, I found the door I needed to go into to pick up my race packet.

As I'm walking up to the door, I find myself saying, "Let this feel like home." I swing open the door ready for my grand homecoming...and with much lackluster there is no music or bright flashing lights, just an old lady at a makeshift table stacked with t-shirts and race bibs. As I make my way to the table, I give the place a good once-over. It's clean and smells nice. Nothing like my house. A retraction is in order. God, let this feel like I'm in Your home. The woman at the table is friendly and I feel bad for thinking she's old. She hands me bib number 801 and a cotton t-shirt size small. Okay, medium. It's time to leave, my mission complete, the damn packet picked up. But I did not want to go. I felt something being there. 

Fast forward to race day which was just this past Saturday. I jog to the church and when I arrive, I hear music and the chatter of a small crowd. There are tents set up with cupcakes and coffee and water, and pictures of the orphans in Africa are displayed. There are kids running around a stage with an emcee who is reminding the crowd to enter into the prize drawing. There is a lightness in the air that carries itself to me, and I feel comfortable. I am by myself, cupcake in hand (that didn't take long), but I do not feel alone. With the race about to begin, I feel thankful I'm there. 

Along the race trails are poster boards with inspirational quotes and verses from the Bible. It's so clear to me that I am experiencing something far greater than myself. After 6 miles, God led me back to His tidy house, sweaty, tired and in fourth to last place. As I cross the finish line, I say, "I got it, God. Here I am."

Cupcake in hand, as I'm cooling off and taking a break before jogging back home, I know this is the testimony I will share with members of "the church down the street." He made me sweat for it, but lead me there He did.

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