The Pleasure of Speed

Running Away.

“I don’t run.”

“If you see me running, something is chasing me.”

“Some people just aren’t made for running.”

I’ve thought these things. I’ve said these things. I believed those things.

Every time I did, I lost a part of my identity.

Running Back to Where I Belong

One day, I was pondering some of my more unladylike stunts, and I fondly remembered a footrace where I outran a group of boys. While wearing a dress. (It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.) I chuckled at the memory, and then at another one, where I outran two of the “fastest” boys in my elementary grade.

In what I can only describe as a lightning strike of memory, I remembered something I always said: “I love running!”  Yes, I liked winning, but I enjoyed the running part.

I honestly believe that day, thinking of the races I’d won (and lost), I regained a part of my identity. Something returned to me that I had allowed to be silenced.The false belief that running is only 5Ks and Marathons, where running is a test of endurance clawing every ounce of energy from sore feet and aching muscles.

Running a Test

I’m not an undersized junior higher now, but could I enjoy running again?

I mapped out a distance of 100 meters at a quiet parking lot and made one circle to warm up. Then approached the beginning of the 100 meters.

I unleashed the coils of energy. Dead sprint. Wind in my face. The pounding of the asphalt beneath my shoes.

It was glorious!

In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell (the ‘Flying Scotsman’ Rugby player, martyred in China as a missionary) is trying to explain why he’s competing in the 1924 Olympics. His sister wonders why he doesn’t return to the mission in China where he was raised. He turns to her and says, “I believe God made me for a purpose – for China. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.

A God Who Sprints

But what does that have to do with God, the Bible, or our Christian life? After all, don’t Paul’s metaphors about running imply marathons and endurance? Yes. They do. Nothing wrong with marathons. I think you can learn about God while training and running endurance races. When God is ready to move though, He can move quickly.

Some people think that God could have taken ages and ages to create all the wondrous world we see. He could have and if He had, that would have been okay. He could have spent a million years just designing a blade of grass. However, God decided to create and said, “Let there be light!”

Boom! Just like that. In less time than it takes me to blink, there was light.

Watching God work can be a weeks, months, years-long process. But sometimes you find yourself moving from one state to another with a new job, new home, and new life in the space of less than two months. I’m not the only one of my acquaintances who has a similar story.

More than once, things have looked bleak, and no human understanding brings answers or hope. But in an hour or a day, based on nothing you’ve done, God makes a way.

I greatly respect those who run endurance races; we can understand certain attributes of God from those long races.

In truth, I am grateful for a God who sometimes reaches down, grabs our hands, and says, “Hang on.”

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