When I step outside for my run, God’s presence surrounds me. I see him in the golden rays of sunlight through a canopy of red, yellow, orange and brown foliage. I feel him in the bite of cool, morning air. I smell him in the rich aroma of falling leaves. Running is God’s way of opening my eyes to his beautiful creation, revealing the joy to be found in the simple things.
As I run, I hear God speak to me through the movements of my body. With the pumping of my arms and legs, the pounding of my feet on the pavement, the beating of my heart, the expanding and contracting of my lungs, I hear him say, “I made every intricate part of your body that allows you to experience this world in so many different and wonderful ways. This is my gift to you.”
I answer him with every snap, crackle and crunch of leaves under my running shoes. With every deep breath I take, I respond, “Thank you.” To show my gratitude I straighten my shoulders, hold my head high and lift my legs higher, pushing myself to go faster, to go longer. I breathe in the pure spring air and breathe out the toxins in my body and in my soul. Endorphins burst like bubbles of happiness and flow straight to my heart, lifting it with joy.
It occurs to me that God’s most valuable gifts are often taken for granted. What other gifts do I take for granted? Then like a coach, I hear God encouraging me, “Your faith is my gift to you, too. Exercise it. Do not let it become weak or frail and let it atrophy. ”
With God as my coach, I realize that true strength in life comes from my faith. Through the training and conditioning of my body, I increase my flexibility, build strength and endurance. If I apply this discipline to the spiritual side of my life, I can develop the necessary skills to effectively pray, worship, and serve the Lord.