"A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice." Isaiah 42:3
Most of us experience times in our lives we feel like a bruised reed, or that our life has become a dimly burning wick. As someone who attempts ultra runs this verse took on a whole new meaning this past weekend in Black Mountain, North Carolina. They offer a six hour, twelve hour, or twenty four hour option of running a five kilometer loop (3.1 mi) as many times as possible in your designated time called the Black Mountain Monster Run. I am normally opposed to repetitious running, but I agreed to try something different with my clients and son who wanted to attempt this race. We watched a video of the course and it looked awesome.
When preparing for any kind of race I must prepare spiritually, physically, and mentally. Running is much more than a physical endeavor for me. I started running the same time I made Jesus Lord of my life and was filled with His Spirit, so the two always go together. I have never run a mile without His help, and I am very aware of that. Running without the Holy Spirit would be much less fulfillment and enjoyment if I just ran on my own. For me, preparing spiritually is the most important thing I do. I pray and fill my mind and spirit with His loving promises. I pray them when I run out of strength and have to rely on Him for just one more mile. With ultra runs it becomes just one more step.
As most runners know the environmental conditions affect your race tremendously and can offer some amazing challenges as this weekend. I had participated in a Marine 5K Mud Run the weekend before, but little did I know I would be doing a mud run for my ultra! It definitely slowed us down as all those feet continuously mixed water and dirt creating some interesting mud pits up and down and all around!
My goal was ten loops in six hours which would give me a 50K. (31mi) The humidity was extremely heavy and the mud did slow us down. The longer we ran the worse the conditions became. I promise I became a bruised reed as fell trying to get pics of my son’s muddy feet and legs in front of me going up one of the slimy hills. I banged the cap of my knee on one of the many hidden rocks in the mud. That was on my 7th loop. I really struggled the last couple loops feeling like a dimly burning wick from the challenge of staying hydrated and not drinking too much. You have to do the same with caloric intake. I know I have to walk the fine line of only getting what I need, or throwing up. My prayer life increases as the dimly burning wick feels it is about to reach extinguishment. However, I always gain more strength while praying back His promises to Him knowing He will enable me to do His will which is my ultimate goal.
My life belongs to Him. I have been bought with a price. Does that mean I always have success in everything I do? It depends on how you define success. For me it isn’t always getting what I want, but knowing I have offered Him my best, all I have. Then it is up to Him whether He chooses to multiply it and make it enough to meet unrealistic goals I continuously set relying on Him, and knowing full well in my own strength the wick will run out of light before the finish line.
My goal in this run fell 3.1 miles short. I completed 28.1. Nonetheless, I finished so thankful and surrendered to the will of God, because His ways are always higher than mine. He is about an eternal reward and I am focused on miles and seconds. Was I disappointed? No, because I knew I had given all I had to offer as the little boy with the two fish and five barley loaves to feed 5000 people. He gave all he had to Jesus, and the Lord multiplied it, and it was more than enough. (John 6:1-21) I gave all I had and was able to actually sprint my last six minutes when I realized how close I was to the six hour cut off. That wasn’t my strength. He did that. Far be it from me to not be content and satisfied when you are able to sprint your last six minutes in an ultra run!
As we examine our own hearts this morning what might be causing you to feel like a bruised reed? He doesn’t reject the bruised, but promises justice. Perhaps you have reached the end of yourself like the dimly burning wick. We have all been there one way or another. It isn’t a bad place to be when you learn to allow the Light of the World to pour in His Life that we might burn brightly for His glory and to show others the way. We are promised we shall always triumph in and through Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) Are we meeting the conditions for the promise?
In His love.
Photos from our trials and triumphs this past weekend. Clients Eleanor Dick, Julie Kinney, and Trudi Jackson set goals and achieved them this weekend. What a delight to share the moment with my son, Stephen and wife, Katelyn who are expecting their first child. They captured my strong finish which was in and through Christ I promise!