Monday, February 29, 2016

Running Alongside Samantha

Her world seems small. Face down, giving total focus to each painful step, my neighbor inched her walker along the street.

I was caught slumping wearily in the lawn chair debating whether to go for a run. Was it too hot? Was I too tired? Did I do enough yesterday to give me a pass today?

Samantha. pausing to rest, looked up. Her face glowed from sweat, but she grinned and waved. I smiled and waved back, walking toward her for a short visit.

"Hi, neighbor," she greeted me. "I can't believe I walked this far today. Just had to enjoy the sunshine before I spend my day at rehab."

Freedom. Peace. Joy. We wrongly assume those depend on circumstances. If life looks the way we hoped, joy overflows. I'm so blessed, we say, overcome with a delightful peace. I got the job! I got past my sickness. Good news has come! God has answered my prayer the way I wanted! I'm so grateful!

That's living in a small world, a world where we can see and understand. We feel worthy because we are given what we value. We live gratitude because God offers a season of refreshing ease.

Walking by faith is also sweating from the hard work of inching our way along, face down, focused on each scary step. It's ignoring the excuses and drama and difficulties to view our circumstances through God's eyes. We try to squeeze a big God into our small world, our small, human minds because our life looks too hard.

"Do you have time to walk me home?" Samantha asked. "It would really be a gift to me. I'm tired. The road didn't look this far when I started out. I'm afraid I might not make it home without falling. It won't seem as far if you're encouraging me."

Walking by faith is knowing our life journey can be harder than expected. We may not make it home without falling. We may view our circumstances as failure, but it's in the brokenness that our world grows larger, our eyes see more clearly what God values.

The journey for someone else won't seem as far if we are alongside to encourage. We can proclaim freedom to those in prison. We can bring joy to those that mourn and peace to those who are afraid.

"Thanks!" Samantha yelled as I jogged away, looking forward to my run. "You got this!"

Commit your works to the King, soldier-princess, and your plans, will be established. Your God is bigger than you think.

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