“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Heb. 12:1
There’s a first time for everything, and my morning run poised me for a first. As I jogged down a familiar path I noticed an animal stop dead in its tracks, and look straight at me – a red fox. Unfamiliar with the predatory traits of this wild creature, I halted my run and stared back at him. Our eyes were locked, each waiting to see who’d make the first move. To be honest, I was paralyzed. Would he charge after me? Could I outrun him? I’d heard of a rabid fox that attacked a woman within close proximity to my location. I stayed put. At last the animal darted across the road and through the woods. I unlocked my knees and started my backward run home. My feet were positioned forward but my neck and eyes stayed back in the direction of the disappearing fox. What if he changed his mind and decided to be carnivorous today instead of vegan?
Running ahead while looking back is a tough task. My neck was killing me and a glance down nearly landed me on top of a snake – a dead snake. But I hate all snakes, dead or alive. This was not the pleasant jaunt I’d anticipated when I left my house this morning. I decided to call it quits and return to safety. Then a thought occurred to me – obstacles can deter me, but they don’t have to defeat me. I could choose a different route and finish my run after all.
Every day we wake up with agendas, even God ordained agendas, and obstacles pop up in front of us. We can stay in lockdown and accomplish nothing. We can peel off our badge of courage and go home. Or we can take a different path, a higher road marked with success. I chose to finish my run and even made it an extra long one to prove I can overcome obstacles meant to defeat me.
As I rounded the last corner leading home, I encountered another snake. A car must’ve crushed it only moments before. Blood oozed from its mouth. There’d been no sight of a serpent slithering on this path only an hour before. Joy flooded my soul when I marched up my front steps!
God has given us power to tread upon serpents (even dead ones), and get out of harm’s way (red foxes). We can run with endurance and finish the path before us, even if we get re-routed.