This morning was my long run. I say that as if I always go on a long run on Saturday mornings, which is entirely not true. The plan had been to meet some girlfriends for a run downtown. See, we’re running in a relay together in a few weeks, and we were going to run the course together. But when I turned on my alarm for 0500, I neglect to remember that the 0500 setting is for Monday through Friday only (iPhone problems), and I didn’t wake up until minutes before I was supposed to meet the girls.
Still, I managed a long run. Okay, for me, 4.5 miles is a long run. The route I take is a very basic, no turns, just straight down a very hilly road 2.25 miles out and back. With a stop at the turnaround for some stretching. Today was a beautiful morning for a run. Temps in the mid-60s, sunny, not too humid, a hint of a breeze. A perfect Autumn morning.
There was that breeze, however. You see, I try to speed up a smidge (only I would notice the increase in speed, it’s that minute) on the downhill portions of the route, to give me a better time. And since this course is very hilly (translation: I walk a good bit), I can use a few seconds shaved off my splits here and there. But for whatever reason, the wind was blowing hardest, and I was running into it, when I was on the downhill sections of the first part of my run. It was a little annoying, but I consoled myself with the thought that the wind would be at my back for the uphill portions on the way back. Right?
Except that I couldn’t feel the wind at my back when I was running after the turnaround. What the heck? It was like nature was giggling at me, playing a trick on my psyche. I could see the weeds along the route swaying slightly, so I knew there was wind somewhere. It just wasn’t doing anything to help me. It wasn’t meeting my expectations. It wasn’t what I wanted. So i stopped.
And there it was.
The wind. On my back.
I couldn’t feel it while I was running. But it was there, gently encouraging me as I plodded up those hilly portions, though I couldn’t see or feel it.
It reminded me of that Footsteps poem. The past nearly three years have been hilly ones in my personal life. There have been moments (very lengthy moments) when I have felt like I’ve been running this race alone. But then I stop to catch my breath, and realize that I haven’t been operating on my energy alone. These portions of life where I might only see one set of footprints in the sand because He was carrying me through them. It’s during those sections of the journey where the Lord has been empowering me, motivating me, moving me graciously along this path- by His strength, not my own.
See, I had this expectation. I had an idea of what it would feel like to have the wind at my back, surging me up those challenging hills. I could feel the force of the wind when I was running into it, and I wanted that same force behind me. But that portion of the journey was different. The wind hadn’t changed– my direction had. I wasn’t fighting it. I wasn’t going against the flow. How like the wind is God’s perfect will. When we’re going against it, there’s push-back, adversity, challenge. When we’re following in His perfect plan for our lives, there’s peace, empowerment, unity.
When I look back over the past three years, I am amazed at the many ways in which the Lord has blessed, protected, and provided for me and the Tweedles. There are moments where, standing in court rooms or tearfully reading angry e-mails, I have questioned whether God was paying attention. But He was listening. He was moving. He was working on my behalf– the silent wind at my back, gently pushing me in the right direction. He is so good.
I’d love to hear about a time when you didn’t realize until much later that the Lord was the wind at your back during a trial.
Cheering for you.