Posts Tagged ‘hills’

I went for a run in the woods today.  I like to be outdoors.  I like to run…  Actually, we better make that “I like to jog.”

I went to a state park near where I am working this week, picked up a trail map and selected a Moderate trail, 3.9 miles in length.  I was feeling pretty perky.

Since there where no topographical lines on the map, I made my best guess which way would provide the best grade.  OK, for those not familiar with running, er jogging for the middle-aged and somewhat conditionally challenged, the best grade means as little uphill running as possible.

I guessed right, or at least the first 3 miles seemed so.  A fairly long, but gradual downhill was followed by a few slight rises.  All in all the first three miles were sufficient to have me pondering the goodness of God.  I began to see how trail running can be a good metaphor of life with it’s up and downs, periodic ruts, times of running in the brilliant early evening sunshine followed by the dusky shadows of the deep woods.

I came to a rather long flat section about three miles in and that perkiness really kicked in.  I picked up my pace.  Turtles and snails were no longer my trail companions.  Seventy five yards or so later I was beginning to congratulate myself on being slight less winded than I thought I should be when the trail turned… and went up…really up.  Like somebody forgot this was a trail around the base of Morrow Mountain and not over the mountain.

I lowered my vision to the trail in front of me and plodded purposefully up the ever steeper slope.  The biggest problem I had though was that I had looked at the dauntingly steep slope and it was in my head as well as being a real physical challenge.  As I slowed my pace to get my heart rate back off the edge I had to laugh as several obvious realizations came to mind.

First that long downhill to start my run was followed by a number of approximately equal rises and falls.  Logical conclusion #1, I still had the height of the long gradual downhill to climb to get back to my car.

That height difference had to be made up.  Since I didn’t have a clue of the topography in this area, it appeared that the route I took was the gradual side and this was definitely the steep side.  Logical conclusion #2, it is okay to walk if it is too steep to run.

Logical conclusion #3 was related, to #2, it is better to walk, laugh about it, write a blog about it, and survive than to die of a heart attack trying to run up a hill in the woods where I hadn’t and didn’t see another soul the entire time I was out there.

Logical conclusion #4.  The trail was a combination horse trail and jogging trail.  The designation of the trail being Moderate was probably for those riding a horse.  Where I was did NOT feel the least bit moderate… even when I slowed to a walk.

Logical conclusion #5 (perhaps the most important learning from my run), trail running is a lot like life.  (I know I had already started down this trail earlier, but I think the Father was just getting me ready for the real lesson.)  Sometimes we do have downhill runs where it is great and we are seemingly carried along.  Sometimes there are slight rises that correspond to the challenges that periodically come our way.  We press on through and are made stronger because of them.

And then there are the steep slopes that rise up and challenge us to our limits.  I was about halfway up the steep slope when I had to slow to a very slow walk to bring my heart rate down.  (When you can hear your heartbeat approaching three beats a second you know it is time to take it easy.)

Life will bring us to times that press us to our limits.  I believe in God’s sovereignty.  Nothing that we come up against is outside of God’s knowledge and allowance.  There are three sources of challenge we will routinely encounter.  1) Some we bring on ourselves.  In those situations the best approach is to quickly acknowledge our error/mistake/sin, turn around, and ask God’s forgiveness and help.

2) Some are attacks of the enemy of God and His children.  If we ask for discernment, God will provide it.  When this is the source we are to stand firm in faith, resist the devil, and call upon our mighty Warrior & Savior to intervene on our behalf.

3) Finally many are due to the fallen world we live in and God’s desire to live through us in a manner that strengthens us and provides a consistent witness of His Grace to others.  Again standing firm in faith is called for, but additionally praying for the opportunity to shine brightly for God through the time of testing is appropriate.  We do not know all the good God wants to bring through our patient perseverance, but we can cooperate with Him by praying and resting in Him.

Before I knew it I was at the top of the steep hill.  I looked back down and realized I had made a significant elevation gain in a short period.  I almost prayed, “Lord make that the end of the uphill”, but I didn’t.  Instead I started jogging again, a little slower perhaps to conserve a little more energy, thinking about how good God is to provide life lessons in such a beautiful classroom.

Have a most blessed day my friend.  May God make the trail rise up to meet you and give you peace.


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