Now that the new year is off and rolling, I thought it would be a good time to renew my dedication to fitness. The weather has finally hit a dry stretch for the first time all summer so getting out on the greenway seemed like a good way for Little Bit and I to get fresh air and workout at the same time.
Monday was a decent four mile run/walk but it just didn’t seem right. As the day went on, my legs started to stiffen up and the pain got worse instead of better as I walked around and did my thing. My left knee in particular was really achy by the time I called it a day.
Yesterday, I realized that my sneakers were really broken down – flat, really – so I attributed the tough run and the achy knee to bad shoes. Good thing the shoe store is right down the street from the greenway! Little Bit and I stopped and picked up some new sneaks and then hit the trail. I didn’t even make it a half mile before I knew this was not going to be a good run; as a matter of fact there was no way I was going to run at all. My legs were in agony and the stroller was hard to steer and felt like it was loaded with rocks. Something was definitely wrong. About two miles in I looked down and realized I had one low (not quite flat) tire.
See if I had paid attention I would have noticed before I started that my shoes needed to be replaced and my tires needed air. I was so set on getting a move on I failed to check conditions first.
Our hearts are no different. Ok, God has drawn something to my attention (a problem to solve or a ministry opportunity) and I’m on board. So I jump in and I talk or I act before I really consider audience, motivation, or even my own heart condition. When it all doesn’t go as smoothly as I think it should, I get frustrated or angry or other people get hurt. Was my action wrong? Maybe. Did I go about it incorrectly? Probably.
2 Samuel 6: 1-11 (another self read assignment today!) tells a similar tale of King David. The Ark of the Covenant was not at home in Jerusalem. David saw a need and wanted to fill it so he jumped. The team loaded the Ark on a wagon and started to bring it home. But the Ark was never meant to travel on a wagon. God gave specific instructions in Exodus 25:10-16 about how the Ark was to be moved but David tried to take a shortcut. Why did it really matter HOW it got moved as long as it was moved?
It mattered because God has rules. So when the wagon got a flat and Uzzah tried to spare the Ark, he was struck dead. Were Uzzah’s intentions right? Sure, but how he did it was wrong. David’s failure to obey led to someone else’s death. David’s reaction is the part that puts a mirror up in front of me. He got mad about it. Yeah, sure God I kinda did the wrong thing, but you could have overlooked that! Why did you have to be such a stickler?!
Now David’s story got stuck for a minute. The Ark had to stay where it was until David got it together and decided to follow the rules. Three months! It took three months for David to get things in order. God still shows His nature. In those three months, He didn’t stop what He does.
2 Samuel 6:12-15
Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.
God blessed the house that was tending the Ark even though it got there the wrong way and it wasn’t at its final destination. Then David got his act to together and did things the right way and there was great rejoicing and ultimately success.
Yesterday I still got a workout in. It was hard, painful and took way longer than I wanted it to, but I still achieved my goal. Now imagine if I had checked shoes and tires before I started on Monday. I would have avoided a lot of physical pain if I had replaced my shoes on time. I would have actually been able to run and get things done on time if I had put air in the tires. If I had prepared and made sure things were right.
Sometimes we need to search our hearts and get things straight with God before we begin a ministry or try to resolve a problem. Perhaps in doing so we can avoid pain – self-inflicted or inflicted on or by others. Perhaps we can achieve so much more in our ministry if we follow the rules and path laid out instead of trying to take shortcuts.
But understand this. Even in those moments when we may not start out right, God will still work – maybe not at the final destination, but He will still work. The great rejoicing will come when we get our hearts right, fill our flats and do things His way.