I thought of something while I was doing laps recently. As I swam, which I find relaxing but mind numbingly boring, I was going through the alphabet declaring God’s character. When I got to P I thought of pace. Pace, God sets my pace. Then path, God makes a path for me and sets my pace on my journey along the path. He is my pace and path maker. I got stuck there, meditating on those concepts until I finished half a mile.
Not only does He show me the direction, even if sometimes it’s a bit misty, but He tells me how quickly to progress. Sometimes I am running, other times jogging, then maybe a short sprint, sometimes I need to walk, and occasionally I have to stop.
I think along the way there are coffee shops, tea houses and even pubs for those times I need to take a break. Sometimes it’s a quick frappuccino. Other times it’s a more relaxing break with tea and scones. Every now and then it’s time for a meal and a pint with a few good friends. We don’t journey alone on God’s pathway. There are so many others with us on this adventure, but we don’t always see each other.
There are times when it’s like we are running a marathon. We see and hear the crowds cheering us on at the beginning. We may not be able to distinguish the words, but we know they are for us. Further along our path, as the crowds diminish someone comes along side and offers us a drink of water, keeping pace with us so we don’t lose momentum. We are grateful as the cool water slips over our parched tongue.
As we keep putting one foot in front of the other and begin to feel pain, our focus can become so intense that we see the offer of a cup of water as a threat, a distraction to force us off track. As if it were a fly buzzing around our head we swat it away.
“Are you okay? Would you like a cup of water? What’s your name?” God runs along side, seeing our fatigue. He continues to call to us, trying to help us slow our pace before we collapse.
Several years ago Steve and I were in that place of determined focus, intent on completing the course, doggedly pushing forward in exhaustion until we finally recognized that it was God’s voice saying, “It’s time to step off the path for a bit. You need to rest. Your bodies need attention. Let me tend to your needs.”
Like so many runners, we didn’t feel the love. We felt defeated, like losers. We failed. We hadn’t trained enough, or used the right method. We could hear God’s loving, firm voice re-setting our pace, but the enemy’s taunts seemed louder.
All these years later I finally get it. I don’t make the path and I don’t set the pace for the journey. I need to tune my heart, my ears, and my spirit to hear my Pacemaker. He knows what I need. He is for me. He wants to see me finish strong. Sometimes He needs to pull me aside, give me medical attention and then help me get started again, slowly, building up stamina and speed so I can finish strong, crossing that finish line to the cheers of those who have gone before and into the strong arms of my Pacemaker.