I was a runner in High School. But that was 1.5 decades ago, 3 births, 36 months of nursing, 15 birthdays, 5,475 days of marriage, countless meals, sleepless nights and lullabies ago, so it doesn’t really matter! About a month ago, the Lord nudged me, challenged me rather, to roll out of bed before the rooster crows and meet Him on the road. Finally, I had ignored Him and slept in long enough, so I set the alarm and committed to obey this voice in my head. Either I was completely crazy and one run would be enough or the Lord really was speaking to me and I would grow in this process. First morning I couldn’t sleep, for thinking of how early that alarm would go off and how terrible I would feel if I didn’t get to sleep! Let’s just say I saw 2 am and the alarm was set for 5:30. That’s not much sleep for this must-have-8-hours-of-sleep connoisseur.

After jogging regularly for a month now, I feel my body getting stronger, but more importantly, my prayer has been for the Lord to train me to be Godly. “Teach me to listen to your voice”, I have prayed. Physical conditioning is important to health and vitality of my days, but spiritual conditioning will endure beyond this earthly body. So, no headphones, no agenda, just me and the birds, listening to my Savior.

At first, just the task of running overwhelmed me. I set my goal and measured my course for 2 miles, but even prayed that if the Lord had a plan for me to go a different route or a different amount of miles I would listen and obey that. Of course my first thought was to the worst – that He’d want me to go 5 miles tomorrow and I just wouldn’t be able to do that. But then, on the other hand maybe He would say 1 mile and I’d have an easy day. It was 2 miles throughout the entire 1st week and that was hard physically for me, especially on 5 hours or less of sleep. I wanted to stop MANY times, but prayed for the Lord to strengthen me, and He kept my feet moving one in front of the other. I was amazed, though at how I was still able to function, even with joy, in my day. He completely multiplied my strength as I obeyed.

The object I noticed first, UNDENIABLY was the sun. It would just be peaking over the horizon line as I crested over the hill and set out with fields stretched out on both sides. Instantly, when that sun breaks through you feel it’s heat. Everything does, nothing is exempt.

I thought about the “heat” I’ve felt in my own life. Pressure and trouble in relationships, decisions, haunting thoughts of “what-ifs”, responsibilities….the list could go on. I felt an impression on my heart that said, “I am the heat you’ve been feeling”. No, God doesn’t BRING us hardship, as in the context of being MEAN. Rather, He ALLOWS them, as fiery furnace for gold or a crucible for silver, to bring out the impurities within, and with the goal of making of making us holy. I should rejoice in that heat, for He is there! My life cannot be hidden from His heat if I am His child! I should be worried if I DIDN’T feel His heat, for those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines!

Thank you Lord for your heat. The pressures in our life that MAKE us turn to you, completely rely on you. Increase our trust in you in these intense heated times of our life, that those impurities may be cleansed away and not hold us back in our walk anymore. I pray for those who are hurting and struggling today, that you would give them joy instead of ashes, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair and you would make all of us oaks of righteousness, a planting of yours for the display of your splendor! Amen

Jude 24 “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy…”

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