One of the things that runners find incredibly challenging is following the rule of the Long Slow Distance run. When training for a marathon, the training schedule calls for tempo runs, speed intervals, recovery runs and long slow distance runs. These are the once a week long runs that are intended to give the runner experience with lots of time on his or her feet. It’s quite typical for a coach to tell the runner to run at an average pace (minutes per mile) that is more than one minute slower than the goal race pace. This requires a fair amount of self-control, humility, and trust in the coach’s plan. I have been on both sides of this scenario and I know that without question, this is the toughest advice to take. Nearly every new marathoner finds it so difficult to believe that running this slow will help them run a faster marathon, even though a coach who has run many more marathons is offering the advice.
This same circumstance often exists in our walk as Christians. We find it hard to follow all of the commands that God gives us. We may think they are a bit over the top, they may reduce our coolness factor when comparing ourselves to others, and they just don’t seem right sometimes. Turning the other cheek, offering grace and forgiveness, and showing loving kindness to people who seem really bad may be a few examples of when we don’t think God has it quite right. In truth, God always has it right, and His commands truly are for our own good.
God does teach us what is best for us and He does direct us in the way we should go. If we could hit the reverse button to a certain point in our lives, we’d likely find that if we did what we know is right in God’s eyes – as opposed to what we actually did – things would be so much better. There is not a reverse button, but God never gives up on us. He lifts us up out of the messes we’ve made and lets us try again. I want to experience that peace like a river and righteousness like the waves of the sea, and God wants that for each of us, as well. We just need to start trusting Him enough to follow His direction.