A body in motion vs. a body at rest...
It's been a bit of a rainy season around Oklahoma, if by "a bit" you mean flooding, road closures, power outages and event cancellations. In the last weeks, we've had more than a few days that made me want to stay in bed with a cup of hot tea, a couple of good books and movie or two (or three or five).
While the idea of stomping through puddles thrills me for a moment, if I'm brutally honest, I have to admit I really just prefer the comfortable, indoor version of wet weather enjoyment. I don't like to be wet. I don't like to be cold. I don't like to be uncomfortable. Just give me raindrops sliding down the windowpane, while I slide deeper into a drowsy state under a comfortable quilt.
I am learning that I am more likely to find God in the times and places where I am the least comfortable. In a living room, holding hands with a grieving mother, trying to pray the right kind of prayer. Door-knocking at neighborhood apartments to invite families to church while avoiding the domestic altercation going on in the next building. Putting down my to-do list on a busy day so I can really listen to a scared and self-admitted drunk woman with a heartbreaking string of broken relationships.
I am convinced and convicted that while naps are nice and God gives comfort to the tired and hurting, there is something powerful and holy in doing the hard and uncomfortable things.
Look at the thousands of posts yesterday from people who braved the cold, wet weather and ran or walked or simply cheered for the runners and walkers at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (http://okcmarathon.com/). Here are a few of my faves:
My amazing sis-in-law, Leanne, who ran what she calls her "first and last" marathon:
My friend, and co-laborer for kids, Bryan, who ran the 5K with his spunky and courageous daughter, Ainslee (and then showed up at church in his running clothes to help with Children's Worship!).
And, this super-cute older couple whose picture has now gone viral on social media. https://www.facebook.com/OKCMarathon/photos/a.130286314556.103417.58043814556/10155247737404557/?type=3&theater
All these folks, and so many more, gave up their comfortable Sunday morning to do a hard and holy thing in the wind and rain and cold. People came from 50 states and 13 countries to run this race for a wide array of reasons: to remember those lost their lives in the 1995 Murrah bombing, to honor those who helped on that day and the many heartbreaking days afterward. People ran this race to challenge themselves or better themselves or encourage someone who cannot run. The rewards for this type of sacrifice became obvious on a day when so many people were sacrificing together, hurting and helping and healing and doing this hard thing together.
I scrolled through my online feed and saw picture after picture of runners and walker and cheerers, and it hit me again:
This is what God wants for His people. To be in it together. To sacrifice together. To be willing to be hurt, and to help, and heal and do the hard things together. Because when we do this, as His church, as His hands and feet, in the middle of a cold, brutal world, He gives us beautiful glimpses of Himself that change us. And, that, through us, change the world.
My sister-in-law, Leanne, posted this picture from yesterday's race, and it, along with her commentary, is by far my favorite of the day:
"A rainbow over Hefner. This was the WORST part of the race. The wind off the lake was brutal."
Isn't this a picture of what God does when we step together outside what is safe and comfortable and easy?
When we are willing to be uncomfortable, when we are willing to come out from under the warm quilt of the expected and everyday and step out into the brutal wind of a sinful, awful, hurting, fallen world, God is always faithful to provide what we need to go one more step.
C'mon, church. We are God's people. He's called us His body. And bodies in motion tend to stay in motion! (Thank you, Mr. Newton for clarifying that law of physics.).
Friends, let me cheer you as we throw off the easy stuff and get down to the nitty gritty of what God wants to do in and through us. Yep, it is going to hurt our hearts sometimes. It may not look pretty. It is pretty much guaranteed NOT to go according to plan. When we take God seriously, and ask for the hard jobs, the jobs of loving people who don't look or sound like us, the jobs of serving those we don't agree with, the jobs of listening instead of talking, asking instead of assuming, the job of being God's hands and feet in a hurting world, there is only one thing that is certain. IT. WILL. GET. UNCOMFORTABLE.
But the God who created the universe and set physics into motion has called us to move, and He will move too, right in the midst of the hard stuff.
So, um, has anyone seen my rainboots?
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith..." Hebrews 12:1-2a