Saturday, August 24, 2013

Joy (Injury Part 3)

"God-Loyal people don't stay down long, soon they're up on their feet."  -Proverbs 24:16 (MSG)

This summer was one of the greatest roller-coasters of a lifetime. I got to go to Africa, lead a cross country camp, and go to Mammoth Lakes California, where I got to meet my hero, Ryan Hall!

I've also had a lot of ups & downs this summer. When I was in Africa, I was humbled to lead someone to Christ, which was incredible! I also had some great conversations with some high school athletes at the Baylor Cross Country Camp.

On the other hand, I didn't get to run a step this summer due to a stress fracture. I spent a lot of time alone for hours on end swimming and deep water running in the pool. While my teammates were out running, I was confined to the air bubble also known as the Alter G. It was frustrating, and I spent a lot of time asking God tough questions. (see part 2 Frustration)

But through all the ups and downs, the Lord has taught me a lot about His faithfulness, and the joy I have in Him.

My hero, Ryan Hall, who helped lead a bible study I was in this summer while I was in California, shared Proverbs 24:16 with us, which really encouraged me.

The verse in Proverbs 24 doesn't shy away from the fact that we will be down, in fact, it implies that at one point in our life we will be down. However, the cool part of the verse tells us that if we are loyal to Christ, we will be up on our feet! Coming from someone who has had a 3 month fracture in my foot, that verse is really encouraging to hear.

I asked God this summer question I didn't think He had an answer for. I asked Him, "God, how come I have this fracture, why would you give this pain to me, to someone who is seeking You?"

Looking back, I asked God the wrong question. I realized a critical mistake in my question… I attributed my pain to something that God had personally given to me, almost like he was purposefully giving me pain. But if we look in the Bible, we see that all good things come from God (James 1).

God didn't give me a stress fracture, but He has allowed me to have it, so that I may be more dependent on Him, rather than put my identity in running, something I do so often.

My pastor from the church I grew up in, Todd Wagner defined the words worry & joy in a clear way:

Worry: "God has it all wrong"
Joy: "Knowing God is good & sovereign"

I spent the majority of this summer, worrying whether or not I would be able to run, I didn't fully trust in God's faithfulness. I thought like in Todd's definition of worry, that God had it all wrong. It took a trip 7000 miles away to Africa to help me realize that I needed to have joy, and trust that the Lord is a God who is constantly faithful to me, a God who is not forgetful of the pains that we go through, but ever present in the hardships of life.

Although I am not back to running, and sometimes frustrated with the slow process of having to cross train, while with my teammates are out & about, I've got something thats worth more than health: Joy, or a trust in God's faithfulness to me each day that I wake up.

 I know that one day when running ends, I'm going to have something more permanent: A relationship with Christ filled with joy!