Last spring the Doc had a fabulous idea that I went along with. Some, no, make that most of you will laugh. He approached me with the idea of running a half-marathon this fall. No joke. I've actually done this before when my oldest daughter was 2. I did it in exactly 2 hours. She's now 25. I'm sure you can do the math and hopefully you've realized that what was 13.1 miles 22 years ago.....is still pretty much 13.1 miles today.......only the person running it is alot older. I was actually very gung-ho about this adventure because I had a big birthday this year and it's kind of a bucket list thing for me. Not gonna take this aging thing as it comes. I want (we want) to be a force to be reckoned with as we get older. This is a great place to start......so we've been training.
I'm sure if you saw me running down the road you wouldn't even give me a second glance. I'm slow. That's ok. I'm out there. I'm not gonna set any records but I am determined....I am fierce....and I am a goal setter. I can do this.....or so I thought.
This school year it was pre-determined that Thursday be my day off....you know...the day when you can do all the stuff you don't normally do when you have kids in tow. I had all kinds of grand plans to lunch with girlfriends (I loves me my friends!)), shop (meh....on occasion), READ (yes, yes, yes), Laundry (heck to the no), among other stuff. I am doing all of that in between.....training. I've committed to this 1/2 marathon thing. It's on this BLOG for the Lord's sake so now I really can't back out (not that that was in the mix or anything.)
So....yesterday was a loooonnnngggg training day. I ran an 8 miler. It was hot. In fact running in Florida in August or September is pretty much like placing yourself in a preheated oven.....on the surface of the sun. I'm a temperature runner (unlike the Doc who can run in rain, sleet, snow, desert.....at the same speed for a long time), which means unless it's my ideal temp........I react violently to extremes. As I was hitting mile 5 the sun was blaring down on me.....my internal temp was rising fast .....and I ran out of water (which I always carry). I was done. I was alone. I was still several miles from home. I felt like a limp dishrag sloshing up the street with no clear direction. Make that a hot steaming dishrag. I began bemoaning this whole race thing.....and whose dumb, stupid, idea this was (maybe I wasn't quite that nice with my choice of words...) and then it happened as if right on cue.
The sun went behind the clouds ......and a gentle breeze began to blow.
I felt life emerge within me. I knew I could do this. Understand that this was unusual. In Florida, in September for the most part there is oppressive, unwavering heat with little to no wind involved.That breeze restored my faith in my ability to push through hard....when I wanted nothing more than to quit. I made it to our local library and refilled my water bottle. Renewed. Restored. Ready to run the last 3 miles. I felt God with me.
In 1 Kings 19 we meet Elijah being hunted down by wicked Queen Jezebel. Elijah was the last of the Israeli prophets left on the earth. He had just witnessed hundreds of the prophets of Baal die after God breathed fire upon the sacrifice of Elijah (read 1 Kings 18) and King Ahab and Jezebel wanted Elijah's head on a silver platter. He ran. He ran into the desert alone for there were none that believed with him. All prophets from the remnant of Israel were dead. He wandered for days, into the wilderness....in that barren desert and in verse 4 we find him 'praying to die.' He was that desperate. Can you imagine being the ONLY believer left on earth.....and being banished to the barren desert with no food nor water? This was Elijah's reality.....for 40 days and 40 nights. Scripture here says he was fed by an angel and recovered his strength....then traveled to Mt. Horeb where he slept in a cave. Again....alone.
God began to speak to Elijah, asking him why he was there. Elijah begins to tell God of his own faithfulness to the very name and being of God. God instructs Elijah to go out on the mount and stand before the Lord God. Elijah does. The Lord passed by and a great mighty wind tore the mountains and the rocks into....but the Lord wasn't in the wind. A great earthquake hit causing great trembling and shaking of the ground. But the Lord wasn't in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a great fire.....but the Lord wasn't in the fire. After the huge mighty fire there came 'a gentle breeze-like a whisper'. This was the Lord.....Elijah recognized it and wrapped his face in his cloak.
The story goes on.....Elijah lived a hard and difficult life as God's anointed prophet. Soon thereafter he was united with Elisha and thus he wasn't alone in his mission anymore.
How many times have you (me) hit hard, difficult, desert-like conditions like in the middle of my run? I knew the goal. I had done this before....but in that hot, no water, sun-scorched moment I wanted nothing more than to quit my race....run for the shelter and shade and hide from the heat. But God sent the gentle breeze for me. I was able to finish my run that day. You see....he will do the same for you. If you feel alone....if you are tired of the task before you....if you feel battered and bruised and like you are the only one doing this thing you tire of......ask Him for a gentle breeze. A gentle brush of His breath upon you to restore life into your bones, bringing healing and giving strength so you can get up again. So many times we only want relief from the fires upon us, we want answers. With God, you may not ever get those answers but you can know the one who has all the answers. Elijah didn't know the future in that moment. He didn't know there was an Elisha waiting for him. He just knew the sound of his Lord in that whisper and he knew in that instant he wasn't alone. He was restored.
Won't you pray for that breeze today or better yet, be that breeze for someone else? Ask God to show you himself through a whisper and then listen. He's there, ready. Then turn around and encourage someone God places on your heart. Be available to act as someone's gentle breeze today.