There’s a lot we can learn from running at dusk. I’m sure most of you have gone running at least at some point in your lives. I’m also sure that you have experienced a gravel road or two. However, I’m not sure if everyone has had the experience of going running at dusk on an unlit back country road. I can’t say that I recommend it, but I was grateful for the observations of life I was able to glean from it.
We know from where we’ve come and our destination. Everything in between is a mystery to you. Sure, you have a general idea of certain events that may transpire, but how they look exactly is beyond you. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been there before, everything seems and feels different. You can’t rely on your past experience to guide you through alone. There’s definitely a little faith required on your part. This form of tension is knowing the Bible and seeing God’s work from Creation and knowing its culmination in Revelation. The tension is how we balance this knowledge with our understanding of God’s sovereignty and love.
You can’t see the ground in front of you well enough to guarantee sure footing (Psalm 37:23). I can’t tell you how many times I almost rolled my ankles out there in the dark. I’m just thankful I’m not a horse, otherwise I’d have come up lame for sure. Isn’t this life, though? There are times when we’re more aware of the fact that we see the next step, but aren’t sure how safe it may be. I was at a heightened sense of awareness of this the entire run. The more concerned I became, the less I was trusting in God. And the less I trusted in God, the more I stumbled. Each step, we need God to ensure our footing, because our sight isn’t enough on its own as it is in the day.
We know where we’re headed (John 14:2–4). Sometimes we get caught up in the here and now, so much so that we limit our perspective to that next step. That evening, I could keep looking over the hills seeing a light on the horizon knowing I was headed in that direction. Though I knew the trail (generally) very well, it provided guidance and hope. It also provided encouragement as I got closer. I always knew it was not far off, so it provided comfort as well. This is our knowledge of the glory of God. We know we are bound to share in it, but He gives us foretastes of it along the way and grace to keep us going and provide for our every need.
We have to be ever vigilant in our journeys (1 Peter 5:8). Around each corner could be that hindrance that we don’t see coming because it didn’t have its lights on. It could come from the front or behind. It could be something we saw coming the whole way, but swerved a the last minute and wrought death and destruction on our souls. The danger is very present and very real. Just because we don’t see anything doesn’t mean nothing’s coming. Likewise, just because we see that something coming over the hill, doesn’t mean that by tracking it, we’ll be sure of avoiding it. It’s naive of us to think that we are either immune to all passing danger or that danger ceases to threaten us at some point. However, we have protection in a gracious and powerful God.
There is how I see life summed up in a run. It’s simple, but our understanding of the deeper truths is imperative. As Christians, we’ve been given a beginning and the end and it’s our job to live the middle faithfully devoting it to God. There is always danger around us and more often than not, we won’t see it before it is bearing down upon us. We alone are not enough to guarantee our own safety, but God can. He is both willing and able. Finally, no step is certain or secure. We need God each and every step of the way to establish us and keep us from stumbling. It’s not so complicated and we don’t need to make it so. As a result, we are called to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control through the Spirit. Will we cast aside our insecurities and worries, trusting amidst the unknown in a faithful God, or will we try and wander alone in the dark?