31 January 2008

Help Me, I Can't Stop Running

My children love to run . . . especially IN the house. This is by no means a punishable offense in the Hamilton home. In fact, our house is great for it. The kitchen is situated in the center of the downstairs so that my children can run laps from the front room, down the hall, around the corner of the family room, through the kitchen and to the front room again.

At the age of just 3, Joseph (now 5) created a game that has practically become a rite of passage in our home. He would run laps on the course mentioned above while yelling, amidst laughter, "Help me, I can't stop running!" Of course in no time the other children joined in. It is truly a favorite way of my children to expend a little extra of their unending energy.

A couple weeks ago I was sharing with a dear friend over a cup of coffee how when I see them running and laughing and chanting this phrase, I think of Elijah. He walked so very many miles for God, but he ran also. God strengthened him to outrun Ahab's horse drawn chariot at a distance estimated to be about 16 miles. (My friend wondered if Elijah actually had the thought during this very long run of, "Help me, I can't stop running!"!!! ~ what a great thought!)

Many of us want to have such zeal for our Lord that when He privileges us with a task for Him, we run to do it. (Strikingly opposed to the description of feet who run to evil and are eager for destruction in Proverbs 1. With an over-abundance of feet who hastily run to evil, we should desire to have feet that run to good and are eager to do God's will.) And in running, we want to "run and not grow weary" Isaiah 40:31. God's word tells us to do this:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Cor. 9:24-25 Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.

And while this is encouraging and motivating (at least to me anyway) I was reminded by another friend this morning that it is essential to rest. Elijah was a go-getter in every aspect of the term. But he rested also. God Himself orchestrated and even forced Elijah into times of much needed rest (at the brook and with the widow, the 40 day journey and Mt. Horeb).

David ran, but David also rested. And the most beautiful of Psalms and praise in our Bible came from both . . . times of resting and times of running.
Paul, Jeremiah, Abraham, Daniel, Jesus - - they all rested.

Running can be fun! (especially if it involves no shoes and socks that slide on the wooden floor!). But running is too exhausting if we're trying to run on our own strength. And even running by the power of God's strength, we all need rest. We're invited by Christ Himself to rest.

Resting accomplishes great things . . . it renews our strength (a prerequisite to running), it gives a much needed fresh perspective, it is a time of focus, adoration and intimacy with our Lord, it is a time of restoring our soul and healing, and it is a time of learning.


Vicky said...

WOW! Thanks Kerri for another great post. YOU are so encouraging to my heart. On Monday I begin a 5 week stint of substitute teaching at a local Christian school here in our town. I am very excited about this opportunity that GOD has given me. I will have 97 students starting on Monday...I am a little nervous I haven't been in a classroom in 12 years.
I will have 3 PE classes and I was in my mind trying to think of running and excercise verses for Monday. I so want to tie the WORD of GOD in to my teaching these young ladies why it is important to take care of the bodies that GOD has given us.
Anyway...all of that said simply to say...YOU ROCK! Thanks for sharing your heart here in cyberspace...you bless mine over and over. I'm thankful that GOD has crossed our paths for such a time as this.

jana dingmore said...

Thank you Kerri for this post. In a culture that screams activity and productivity is value, God is really speaking to me about rest. My focus verse of late is "Be still and know that I am God." I am meditating on it day and night, and stealing time to come away with Him. It is not easy for me as I am a project-driven person, but God calls us to it. Without that time, we lose the sweetness of an intimate relationship with Him!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Kerri said...


I did not realize that I had not replied back to you. I hope your PE classes are going well. I'm glad God has crossed our paths as well. As for the "you rock" comment . . . not so much, but thanks anyway!

Thanks for your comment and the reminder to rest . . . a reminder that I recently posted about the need for rest and need to 'practice what I post, so to speak!!!

love ya,