Years ago, my friend Laura gave me a small, silver heart.  It’s about the size of a quarter, and the words “With God all things are possible” are engraved on it.  It usually resides in my purse, but last Sunday morning, I dropped it in my pocket as my friend Margi and I headed to the starting line of a marathon.  We had a finishing time goal and had trained hard.  I didn’t want to consider how I might feel if we fell short of our goal.  I knew, however, that no matter how prepared we were, the sheer length of the marathon could break us physically or mentally and foil our plans.  I wanted to be able to find joy in the experience, even if we didn’t reach our goal, but I questioned whether that was possible.

“… all things are possible with God.”  Mark 10:27

As doubts filled my head at the start, I felt the silver heart in my pocket.  I knew my belief in God didn’t guarantee we would meet our goal.  Believing all things are possible with God doesn’t mean the things we want will happen when or as we want.  I was seeking something other than a guaranteed goal.  I wanted assurance that no matter how we finished, I would find joy, gratitude, and praise for God in the experience.  As the miles ticked by, I had a lot of time to think.  I considered God’s incomprehensible schedule … births, deaths, a constant stream of prayers, cries of sadness and suffering, repentant sinners, unrepentant sinners, and a lot of other things I don’t even know about.  His continual presence with each of us – offering love, hope, peace and purpose at all times and in all circumstances – is beyond our understanding.  The thought of His willingness to be with me at that moment – where I wanted to be – running 26.2 miles in St. Louis, was overwhelming.  I was grateful for his patience and presence, and I began to realize being “with God” was the crux of the message on my silver heart.  When we’re with Him – giving Him our complete trust to lead us according to His will – we’re at our best.  It becomes possible to do things we once thought impossible … like being joyful, thankful, and hopeful amidst circumstances we don’t want or like.  When I fail to be with Him, I allow fear to plant doubts and tell me what’s impossible.  When I dropped my silver heart in my pocket that morning, part of me wanted it to magically carry me across the finish line in my goal time.  Instead, it gave me much more – a reminder that when I accept God’s gentle invitation to be with Him, I don’t need anything else and the possibilities are endless.  When His grand, perfect plan presents circumstances I dislike, it will be possible with Him to not only handle them, but to face them with hope, joy, peace, and thanksgiving.  Knowing that is empowering, encouraging, and far more valuable than any racing accomplishment.

Dear God, thank you for being with us always.  Amen.