I love getting my daily run in first thing in the morning, but some days it is hard to wake up…
We got home last night after a full day of driving and had an epic family feast (frozen pizza) at 10pm. We unpacked and settled in for bed after that. I believe I got to sleep around 12:30am. At 4:05am my alarm was letting me know it is time to get back up.
No, thank you.
I got up, got dressed, and drove to my brother’s house for an interesting morning run.
You know it’s going to be a great run when your running partner, who is holding a pile of yard signs, hands you a stack of orange cones and says, “Hold these… we’re going to need them.”
We ran an interesting 8 miles around Wooster, stopping every once in a while to place a sign or set out orange cones. We were marking the course for the Wooster WooDu duathlon event. It was a great run, but it’s not an every-day type of run for me. I can’t remember the last time that I ran with a pile of orange cones in my hands, nor the last time that I ran while avoiding the sharp edge of my running partners’ yard sign stakes…
With the different stops and seemingly random figurings (though I’m sure they were not random at all), we ran for a total of 8.1 miles at an average pace of 8:26 per mile (sometimes I paused my Garmin when we stopped, and other times I just let it roll…) for a total of 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 54 seconds.
In the end, I was glad that I woke up to run!
When I neared home, I saw my beautiful bride dressed in her running clothes, patiently waiting for me at the end of our drive.
Time for run #2!
My watch died towards the end of the run, so all of the run that I have logged is 2.6 miles at a 10:00 per mile pace for a total run time of 26 minutes and 3 seconds. Jodi had her Garmin watch on, and it didn’t die. According to her watch, we made it for 3.1 miles at an average pace of 9:58 per mile (we got faster as we went) for a total time of 30 minutes and 57 seconds.
Today’s Bible reading (Mark 9-11) contains one of my favorite phrases in all of Scripture. Starting in verse 14, Mark begins to tell about a boy who is severely demon-possessed. The boy’s father approaches Jesus, no doubt having heard of other times when Jesus had successfully cast out demons:
And Jesus asked [the boy’s] father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” – Mark 9:21-23
As a father myself, I feel like I can sense the desperation in the father’s words.
“If you can do anything…” Certainly the father wants his son to be completely healed, but he would accept any form of progress whatsoever. “If you can do anything…”
“…have compassion on us and help us.” Maybe sometimes we are at our best when we are at the end of our ropes. Too many times we proudly lift our own heads, puff up our own chests and declare, “I’ve got this!” Here the father knows better. In essence he says, “I need your help!”
“‘If you can’!” Jesus points directly to this man’s lack of faith. “What do you mean, ‘If you can’?!
“All things are possible for one who believes.” Jesus is proclaiming that the request is not too difficult of a task for him. The father simply needs to believe it is possible. It is at this point that one of my favorite phrases in all of Scripture erupts onto the page:
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” -Mark 9:24
“I believe; help my unbelief!” This phrase so completely captures how I feel throughout so much of my walk with Christ. I believe! I really do.
I believe in Jesus. I believe that he was born of a virgin, that he is the Son of God, that he lived a sinless life, that he suffered and died for me to take away my sins so that I could be with him forever in heaven. I believe that God raised him from the grave and that he is alive forever and that he is coming back again to judge the living and the dead. I believe that there is NOTHING impossible for God.
At the very same time, I struggle with unbelief. I wonder if God really cares. I wonder if he even knows what I am going through, or if he really has a way through it. I wonder if he is big enough to handle all of my worries and fears about tomorrow.
I believe; help my unbelief!
You know what I have found? He does.
Not only can he handle all of the worries and wonderings that I have listed above, but he can handle me being honest about it.
Sometimes our best posture is to allow God himself to lift our heads up, to fill our lungs with the air that he freely gives, and declare, “I know that You’ve got this!”
Sometimes our best posture is to simply and honestly say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”