Steadily, my feet hit the pavement. Rubber from the newly-bought, “real” running shoes grips the asphalt again and again. I feel my muscles tighten, starting in my calves and creeping its way into my glutes – the burn feels so good. I am training, pushing myself with each run, testing my mental capacity. This is what 26.2 miles looks like.
I stare at the road below me – left shoe, right shoe. Repeat. I’ve thought about all there is to think about during a run. Breathing? Check. Pace? Check. Stride? Check. Gu? Check. Don’t forget to hydrate. Drop your shoulders when you run. Heel to toe. Heel to toe.
Repeating the same mantra I had done countless times, I expected to have a normal run, just like all of the others – not impressive but not so bad. It wasn’t until I noticed something on the road I had never seen before – a crack. Not just one but many. Why had I never noticed this before?
How aggravating, I thought. This really shows how much our transportation department cares about those who live this far out in the country. This is a state highway for goodness’ sake, and here I am trying to run and have a healthier life, and I have to dodge all of these huge cracks in the road. How have I never noticed this before?
Sometimes on runs, you find you have a lot of time to let your mind wonder, so I did just that – as it pertains to the cracks in the road. At first I thought about how these cracks made their way into the pavement. Perhaps the years of pounding rain and oversized farming equipment contributed to its ugliness. Lack of upkeep had to be at least partially to blame. No one cared to invest any time or money into quality care for the road which led to its infinite number of splits and breaks. Surely flooding played its role in the wreckage that was the path under my feet, and I am sure that the extended periods of blistering heat partnered with high-humid temperatures were no help either.
No wonder this road was cracked, but how in the world had I never noticed this before?
It was then that I looked ahead, into the distance. I had done this before too, measuring out the last bit of the run in my head, but I had never noticed the path – the road that led me to my finish line. It was so smooth and perfect – void of any blemishes, a faded brown with its dotted yellow lines in the middle and trees on either side creating the most perfect tunnel that led me home. How could this cracked asphalt beneath my feet now be the same smooth road that I see ahead?
Yes – here it comes – the metaphor. The thought-provoking moment. The reason for this post.
Jesus. The answer came to me like the quickening that occurs when God really wants you to know that it is Hims speaking to you. This is what Jesus does for us. My life has taken a beating from the harshness of the world and from sin – the sun, the floods, the travel, the wear and tear. It lacks the nurture and love it needs so cracks appear. Sometimes they run as a single line all the way across our lives, and sometimes they connect to another that connects to another that…you get the picture, here. It creates a brokenness that, when you look down, appears to be beyond repair and certainly hopeless for you to fix on your own.
Yet it is God who sees our future and knows what we can be. Jesus fills the cracks, the imperfections that scar and mangle our lives. From that he makes the broken whole, creating the new image that we become through Him on the journey that leads us to our finish line.
What began as a mundane run ended as a revelation to me – a knowing of the wholeness that we experience when we welcome Jesus into our lives. It is not comprehensible how that broken road also appears whole, but that is what it does. It is not for us to concentrate, or complain as I did, on the cracks and crevices that may surround us in the immediate part of our journey when what is important is the path that is ahead. Because of Jesus, we know that our path is really a perfect one, and as long as we focus on the finish line (heaven – just in case you haven’t caught on yet) we will always see the road without its blemishes – the life that He creates for us, one made righteous because of Christ.
This is grace, and this is powerful knowledge to have. I encourage you to compare this to your journey as well.
Just call this my running revelation.