Time Out

Yesterday morning, two of our children participated in their first cross country meet of the season.  The morning was made of the stuff runners and spectators both love – cool temperatures and sunshine.  The lack of wind made us almost forget we were in Kansas, but the cows we passed on the way to the meet and the corn field that lined the course reminded us we were still here.  Our team’s spirit was high, fueled partly by the kids’ nervous energy and excitement, but driven largely by our brand-new, large red tent full of drinks and food.  It was all we hoped for.

As it sometimes goes, however, neither of our children ran the race they expected.  Both had to walk for intervals and one suffered a side stitch.  I saw tears in their eyes as they struggled on the course, realizing that this day’s race would not be what they hoped or trained for.  They both finished, however, and while their training did not bring about the results they expected, it got them home.  They trusted their training and the advice of their coaches enough to not drop out of the race.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; Proverbs 3:5

Many of the challenges that shake our faith are the unexpected circumstances we encounter and the stress and trouble they produce.  No one expects to get ill, injured, divorced, rejected, fired or become addicted to anything.  We know difficulties will come, but we do not expect crises.  When trouble does arise, in whom or in what do you place your faith?  Who do you trust?

Believing in God means trusting in God, but full trust is hard.

Just as trusting your training is easy during a race that is going well, trusting God is easy when things happen as we expect or hope.  It is easy to love others, give thanks and have a joyful attitude in good times.

Sometimes, however, we want to drop out of the race.  It seems easier to stop following God and take an easier route.  Living for others and refusing to choose an attitude of bitterness and anger can be difficult in times of trouble.  It probably occurred to my children to drop out of the race as the course passed painfully near the finish line before extending another half mile.

It is hard to trust God if we don’t know Him.  We can’t trust someone we don’t know and we can’t know someone we don’t spend time with.  My children trust their coaches and their advice because they know them from hours together at practice.  If we want to trust God, we need to fuel our hearts, minds and souls with the good stuff – His Word, conversation with Him in prayer and quiet time to hear Him.

Trusting God will not make the pain of this world disappear.  My children were not happy to face the challenge of their race.  But, just as I saw the tears in their eyes, God will see our tears.  He will carry us through and bring us peace.  After my children’s disappointment faded, they accepted encouragement from their coaches, found their smiles and are now awaiting their next race with renewed hope.

Trust Him to help you, and He will bring you home.