It is hard to see beyond the storm.

On Tuesday mornings, I teach a spinning class at our local gym from 5:30am-6:25am. Immediately following that class, I am fortunate enough to have friends who come and run a few (outdoor) miles with me from 6:30-7:30am.

A couple of weeks ago, I got up, as usual, way before anyone needs to be up. I mean, 5am is acceptable, but any time my alarm ventures into the 4’s, I get concerned about my own sanity. On Tuesdays, I get up somewhere between 4 and 4:30 depending on how many times I hit the snooze button.

On this particular day, I looked outside and noticed it was windy, raining and 40 degrees. Now, if you know me, you know that I rarely cancel my runs. I run in the rain, cold, heat, snow, whenever I can and as long as it is safe, I encourage others to do so as well.

But on this morning, I happened to be a little more tired than usual and it looked like this little storm would be hanging around for a while. So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to bail. I sent a text to my friend and we agreed to skip.

As often happens, however, when I got done spinning and looked outside, it wasn’t raining at all!   The storm had passed.  We quit too soon.  We should have held firm to our plans even if it was a little rainy.

That morning, I couldn’t help but see the parallel between my running and my faith.

Sometimes it is hard to see beyond the storm. It is hard to imagine that we are strong enough to go through it or that there is any point in going through it. It is hard to fathom that on the other side of the rain, while not immediately sunny, there is a reprieve and it will not be stormy forever. It is easier just to quit to call it off.

This is why I run in the rain and the snow and I usually don’t cancel. This is why I run in the winter when the cold makes me uncomfortable and the wind bites at my face. This is why I run in the summer when the heat beats down and it is harder to breath than it seems it should be.

We are not promised perfect running days, nor are we promised a perfect life no matter if you are a believer or not. When I was young, I imagined that I would get married, get a job, have kids and live happily ever after. I look back now and realize how naïve that was, but I still find myself wanting that happily ever after, the series of perfect running days.

And, you know, sometimes I get them, but many times I do not. So, what do we do when we are given a less than perfect running day? What do we do when our life doesn’t pan out exactly as we have planned? As a runner, I run anyways. I hold fast to my commitment to running and realize that I can enjoy running even when the conditions are less than ideal.

And when my life doesn’t go as I have planned? I hold fast to my commitment to Christ and realize that God’s plan for me is bigger than my plan, that even on the less than perfect days or months or years, I can rest knowing He has plans for me that are better than the plans I have for myself.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I can be content, even joyful in the storm.

I know people think I am crazy for running in sub-par conditions and there have definitely been times I have thought that too. But looking back, I can see how God has used this for good.

In comparison to some I am fast and in comparison to others I am not fast at all. There are times I simply walk.  The point is not the pace we run or walk and it is certainly not how we compare to everyone else, but rather that we persist in good times and bad, when the sun is shining and all seems perfect and when there is an impending storm and we cannot see the other side.

“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 raced marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Let us run with perseverance my friends. We can make it through the storm.