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By Christine Pitts
When I was around 40 years old life was very busy with growing children to look after, work, elderly frail parents needing a lot of help, plus a dog who required plenty of exercise. Despite never liking or being any good at sport whilst at school I had the mad idea of running with the dog every day instead of walking as I thought it would save me some time. However after several weeks of trying to run I still couldn’t manage even a mile so in another mad moment I decided to join the local running club, the New Forest Runners, and with the encouragement they gave me I was soon running several miles, feeling extremely fit, finding I had more energy, and most surprisingly of all I was enjoying it. 30 years on and I’m still enjoying running although am now much slower and no longer run marathons. In the summer we have some really beautiful runs in the forest; at one time we had a Coach who delighted in taking us on the wettest, muddiest runs he could find so that by the end of the evening we were usually in a gloriously mucky state! The winter months find us running around the town and only ending up wet when it’s raining.
Sometimes running seems so easy that you feel you can run for ever but at other times it is really hard work especially when there is a strong wind or it’s freezing cold or very hot or there are steep hills to climb, and it would be so easy to give up. However it is during those difficult runs that your body grows stronger and learns to keep going despite the pain, and at the end of the run there is a great sense of achievement. Life is very similar, at times it is wonderful and easy and you enjoy every minute but at other times we are faced with problems and difficulties and don’t know how to continue, but Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9.25 “run in such a way as to get the prize…a crown that will last for ever”.
When I’m not running with the club one of my favourite runs is from home to the sea and then along the cliff tops with fantastic views of the Isle of Wight in one direction, and Bournemouth and the Purbeck hills in the other direction. Not long ago I was running along the road leading to the sea when I was stopped by a big yellow road sign telling me that the road ahead was closed; every road around had diversion signs, each one with an arrow pointing in a different direction which must have been extremely confusing for any visitors, although for me it was no problem as I knew where every road went.
It made me think how wonderful it is when we follow Jesus, his road is never closed because his way is the only way that leads to life in all its fullness. However we do sometimes wander off the road when temptation distracts us only to find that every direction has a sign suggesting that we try a different way but this just results in stress and confusion, but Jesus is always waiting for us to return to his way, he never gives up on us and he never loses patience with us because he loves us too much to let us continue in the wrong direction, so let us keep our eyes on Jesus for he alone is “the way, the truth and the life”.
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