Running into the Wind

Running into the WindI debated about my long run this morning.  We were up late last night because of my son’s 15th birthday party and sleeping in was very tempting.  In addition, the weather wasn’t very promising with occasional gusts of wind that brought the temp around 40 degrees.

After an hour delay, a cup of coffee and some quiet time completing another day in my Bible reading plan, I couldn’t stay inside any longer.  I chose a new route for my 8 mile run this morning, an “out and back” with decent sidewalks.  The weather was a bit windy but I prepared and headed for new territory along Dave Ward Drive.  After five minutes of running and glancing at a few flag poles, I realized that my “out” was going to be much easier than my “back” as all the flags indicated a very nice tailwind.

Sure enough, I hit four miles, turned around and the fun began.  To top it off, I was near the overpass – up hill AND into the wind.  So what do you do?  I changed my thinking and decided to look at this as a great workout opportunity.  I pushed harder to keep my average pace knowing it would payoff two weeks later as I cross the finish line of my 10k.

On an open stretch of road I was reminded once again of why John and other biblical writers often compared the Holy Spirit to wind (John 3:8).  I was running with the wind at my back, thinking, “I feel good today!” but I knew in a few miles the truth would be told.  As good as I felt with the wind, the opposite would soon come to pass.

Here’s what I learned:  1) Don’t take for granted God’s blessing on you and don’t take credit for the “good” things that are happening.  The Holy Spirit is in control of all things.  And 2) God often allows difficulties to strengthen us, so don’t give in, but strive to see God at work in the situation.  Let me explain…

When we have the wind at our backs, it is a wonderful blessing that often makes you feel like you are doing great.  As I ran along, I was thanking God for the help, realizing that with Him I was faster and more successful.  Joshua 1:7-9 reminds us that as we meditate on Him, we will find success wherever we go.  I asked my small group several years ago if you have ever been steered astray by following God’s Word.  The answer was a clear “no.”  Every one of us who have earnestly sought Him, found in Him strength and success (Psalm 27:4, 8).  My success, on the first half of my run this morning, was rooted in Him just as my success in life is also rooted in Him.

As I turned around on my run and headed back up the hill and into the wind, I began to doubt whether or not I should have run this far out.  I began to doubt whether or not the analogy that Holy Spirit is like the wind.  Why would God come against me like this?  He could surely turn that wind right around and blow me back home.  (Boy that would have been nice!)

While those thoughts went through my head, another thought quickly emerged:  if I can keep my pace in this headwind of 15-20 mph, it will only help me to set a PR in two weeks.  I lifted my knees, shorten my stride, and pounded up the overpass directly into the stiff wind, with visions of the 10k finish line etched in my mind.

Hosea 6:1-3 is one of my favorite passages:

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
that we may live before him.
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”

What strikes me in this passage is that God is the one doing the tearing, He is the one striking.  Why? “That he may heal,” “bind us up,” and “raise us up.”  It’s on the mountaintop where we praise and live in God’s glory.  But it’s in the valleys where He molds us into who He wants us to become.  He often allows us to go through the valleys to strengthen us and reveal Himself to us.  I felt that as I ran against the wind.  I needed the resistance in order to become stronger so that I may finished my race strong.  James shares “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:2-4, 12 ESV).

Next time you find yourself running into the wind, lift your head and thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life, regardless of which way the wind is blowing.

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