I haven’t run in five days because of a chest infection but took to the roads again this morning for a slow seven miles. It went as well as could be expected and, upon my return, I took off my trainers and placed them outside to ‘air.’ Sweaty running shoes are a ‘no no’ in chez Black as their unique aroma has the ability to strip paint.
I wear Nike Zoom trainers. Their soles have deep treads which afford me greater grip on the road in addition to cushioning the impact of the tarmac on my feet. Given this the soles tend to pick up gravel and stones during the run which I then have to prise out upon my return to the house.
This is a laborious and time consuming process but necessary as to run again with them still embedded in the sole could lead to all sorts of problems. Imagine an elephant on roller skates. The reduced grip would impact detrimentally upon my pace, stride and control. I would cut a sorry figure with no hope of a personal best.
This most curious aspect of it all is that I don’t even know that I am accumulating these unwanted passengers during my run. It is only afterwards when I closely examine the soles that I see them there and need to prise them free. And yet unbeknownst to me during the run they are slowing me down and knocking me off my stride.
Stones feature throughout the Bible. David slayed Goliath with a tiny one. Joshua and Samson utilised supernatural powers to bring walls and buildings crashing to the ground. And Jesus rolled away a huge one to claim victory over the grave. The greatest victory of all.
We accumulate stones of various shapes and sizes throughout our time on this planet. Others describe it as emotional baggage. Some carry them lightly, to others they are an insurmountable burden. Guilt, unforgiveness, addiction, mental illness, bereavement and a multitude of other emotional problems which can knock us off the path God intended for us, slow us to a standstill and bring us to our knees in despair.
How do we deal with these burdens? Well we hand them over to God. We let him take care of them. Just as I examine the soles of my running shoes on a regular basis so we must allow God to examine our eternal souls. Exposes ourselves to him through worship, study and prayer. Allow him to lovingly pry tbe pain and the anger out and replace it with love, faith and hope.
If we swallow our earthly pride and accept we cannot run this race called life on our own then he will tend to us. He is the ultimate training coach and will prepare and enable us to run the best possible race we can. All for his glory. So don’t give up. You may feel laden down today, battered and bruised. But with his help we can shed all of our earthly worries and sprint confidently along the track towards the finish line. And beyond.
What are the stones weighing you down today?
Have you considered handing them over to God?
Have you an old, smelly pair of trainers/sneakers that you can’t bear to be parted from?