God often uses my runs to talk to me.
(This is the part where I insert a huge disclaimer. I'm not really a runner and when I say my "runs," I'm really referencing my short 5K runs a few mornings a week.)
But, this is often the space where God talks to me and teaches me. Especially on topics of endurance and perseverance and staying the course.
I was challenged this week to use my runs to pray specifically about something in my life. To pray specifically for God to move in miraculous and crazy ways. Monday I have to admit my run felt especially exhausting as I prayed. My perseverance just wasn't there. With every step my energy seemed to wane. My prayers were scattered and seemed ineffective.
I set out this morning to beat what looked like a storm brewing. It was cloudy and windy and out of habit, I turned on my podcast. About half a mile in I was reminded that I was committing this time to pray specifically. So I turned it off, took out my ear buds, and started praying. Praying and running.
Today was different. My prayers were clear and bold. Audacious even. Most of the time my prayers are filled with thankfulness for who God is, requests for him to be near and give wisdom and help. But this morning I was making bold declarations, claiming promises, and asking for Him to move mountains.
Then I started nearing a part of my run where I'm usually exhausted and can't run the rest of the way home. Since I broke my foot last year, I've struggled with endurance and haven't gotten back to where I was. So I said a simple prayer that God would give the the energy to keep going. And He did.
My prayers continued and so did my run. But near the end my strength was fading. Then, I felt the wind pick up and blow against me. I was now running up hill and against the wind. The last thing I needed in that moment was more resistance. More pressure to quit. More reason to give in. In the middle of my talk with God, I said a quick prayer:
"God, can you shift the wind?"
That was it. A brief addition to my conversation with God. I even laughed a bit at myself at such a silly and small prayer. Come on, Susan, he's not going to shift the wind for your run.
But then He did.
The wind actually changed directions within seconds. A full180 degrees. Where I had been feeling the wind as resistance against me, it was now behind me and pushing me to move forward. At that point I was off the trails, heading back into our neighborhood and taking the winding way through back to our house. And the entire way, somehow even when I changed directions, the wind was at my back, propelling me.
I didn't know before my run how much I needed that sweet reminder from God today. Amidst big and bold prayers, I can also ask for his sustaining grace to continue to push and propel me forward. In those moments I would rather give up (or even just start walking rather than running toward my goal), I can ask for more of him. The grace to go on. The endurance to continue. And help from him to carry on.
Sometimes, he answers our prayers to literally shift the wind.
Today I ran all the way home.