Saturday, March 23, 2013

OnFire #298 Something I Never Thought I Would Do

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #298 Something I Never Thought I Would Do

Hi Folks:

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, where we celebrate Jesus' ride into Jerusalem. While he would teach during this week, scripture also records significant moments with his disciples, and with the Father in prayer.  And, of course, on Friday we remember that he died to save us. While we love Easter Sunday with its resurrection because it speaks of life, it was never be possible without the pain and suffering of Friday.

I sometimes wonder about Jesus' faith. It was, unlike ours, a perfect faith. It is hard to imagine because we struggle so much with trust. But think about this. Jesus had to trust the Father that his suffering and death would be worth it. Lest we think it was easy to go to the cross, remember his prayer while in the garden, "Take this cup from me..." It was not easy to go to the cross, but he decided he would trust. "...but if not, your will be done." (Lk 22:42)   There was no other way, but it would be worth it in the end.

Blessings for your Holy Week.

I did something the other day I never thought I would do. Don’t worry, there won’t be an awkward confession. I’m not talking about something secret or shameful. Rather, I looked online for some half-marathons in the area which might fit my schedule this summer.

To be clear, a half-marathon is a long way to run, just over 21 km. As a result, there is a part of my brain which suggests I may have lost touch with reality. However, I always say the question of my sanity is another matter entirely. Moving on...

I started going to the gym in January 2012 because I was getting tired of being sore from sitting at my desk. While only 44 at the time, and in decent shape (I thought), it wasn’t reasonable to be sore from doing nothing. And, it was a little stressful at church without a senior pastor, so going to the gym would help burn off a little stress.

The trainer was helpful and we set up a program for me to follow which included 15 minutes on the treadmill. 2 minutes was about all I could run and I walked the rest. Eventually this became three and I challenged myself to a longer distance each time. It wasn’t easy, but my time for a mile improved and that was encouraging.

By the time summer arrived, I mustered up enough courage to enter a 5km fun run, which I wrote about in OnFire #283, “Lessons from the Treadmill.” It was actually the first time I had run that far. Since then, 5km has become a regular part of my exercise routine and 7.5km is not unusual.

Curious about 10km races I might enter, I went looking online and discovered that it is not a far stretch to go from 10km to the half-marathon. This was surprising to me since it is a lot longer, but writers were encouraging and there are lots of suggestions about how to prepare for that distance. And thus it was that I was looking online for races close to home which fit my schedule.

That’s when the thought hit me that all this fitness work has been worthwhile. It felt horrible to begin, but then improved. I won’t say I enjoy running now, but I do like how it makes me feel when I’m done, and not just because I have stopped.

I think there are many things like this, where there is a lot of hard work and we wonder if we’ve made any progress at all. But then one day we realize how far we’ve come and it makes the hard work seem worthwhile. And not only that, but because of that hard work, we now envision new dreams we never thought possible before.

I don’t know if I’ll make the half marathon. A lot of people do, but I don’t want to presume. Here’s the thing. I won’t know until I try, will I?

That’s my thought for this week. I hope it helps. Be on fire.

OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published Mar 23, 2013. Troy is the Pastor of Next Generations and Connections at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. Scripture taken from New International Version, 1984. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at

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