Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
The day had finally arrived. Surrounded by thousands of runners, I inched my way to the start line. Excitement and adrenaline pumping through my body, I came face-to-face with my first full marathon.
Don’t focus on your time. Don’t focus on your pace. Just finish the race.
These words rang out loud in my mind. After a minor setback with a strained muscle, I accepted the fact that my goal was to finish the race. Period. I found my unique rhythm: Run for five minutes. Walk for one minute. After several miles I found myself lingering at the numbers on my watch.
Once I’d reached the thirteen mile marker I felt a huge relief. I’m half way there!
Then I made the mistake of looking too intently at my watch again. I began calculating. Okay, it’s taken me 2 and a half hours to run half a marathon. (which is about average for me!) So I should be able to finish this thing in about 5 hours if I double that. Okay…I’ll even add an extra 30 minutes since I’ll probably go a bit slower at the end.
So in that moment I realistically figured I’d be done by 5 and a half hours for sure. Seemed like a logical expectation, right? But that was my first mistake…..I set up an expectation for something that was unknown.
I plugged along through the next seven miles without any problems. Excitement flowed through every fiber of my body as I approached mile marker 20. This was a turning point. The most I’d run during training was 20. Once I got past 20 miles I’d be venturing into unknown territory. Would my body be able to continue past this point?
Yes! I breathed a sigh of relief passing mile 21. But then I looked at my watch again. Okay…I’m taking a little bit longer according to my earlier calculations, but because I added that 30 minute buffer in there, I may still finish by 5 and a half hours.
Passing mile 22, I felt my left quad muscle shake. I slowed down. Then my right quad muscle did the same. My legs felt like jello.
At this point reality sunk in. If I wanted to complete the race, I had to let go of my expectation of finishing by a certain time. Changing my pace altogether, I started walking slowly. After half a mile, I attempted to run…slowly. My quads wobbled just after a minute! So this was my new pace. Run one minute. Walk for five. Letting go of my expectations, I stopped focusing on my watch. God reminded me of my original goal. To finish a full marathon.
Turning the final corner, I inched my way across the finish line. It wasn’t in the time I expected. (almost 6 hours!) It didn’t matter what my watch said. It didn’t matter what I’d calculated at the half way mark. I had finished the race!
How often do we make plans according to our own human calculations? How often do we think life will go a certain way based upon what we’ve already experienced? Maybe we think we’ll reach a specific goal in a short time but then we realize it’s taking much longer. Or we expect God to resolve our conflict by a certain date.
He answered my previous prayer in less than a month, surely He’ll answer this one in the same way.
Maybe it took three months. Maybe it took a year. Or perhaps you’re still waiting.
We set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect things to happen in our timing. In our way. Peace would flow more freely in our lives if we trusted God’s timing more often. It’s hard! God’s ways are better than our ways. His timing is perfect. He is never late. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He is ultimately in control of everything.
Wherever you are in your race of life, I encourage you to trust His timing. Trust His ways. One step at a time.
READY? When in your life has an answered prayer come later than you expected? Where in your life are you struggling to trust God’s timing right now? Ask God to show you where you are attempting to take control and trust him to intervene in his timing.
GET SET. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways,” declares the Lord.
GO! Dear Lord, I confess how I so often want things to go according to my own plans. I lose focus of who you really are and think I’m in control. Forgive me for attempting to make things happen in my timing. Help me to trust your timing and to rest in the truth of who you are. Amen
Blessings to you!