If you have read my last post, you'll know that I'm in a battle, much bigger than anything I've ever faced. If you haven't, I encourage you to go back and read it. Much of the time, this battle I'm facing is related to running in my own personal revelation. The Lord quite often uses running to teach me some lesson or show me some path.
I had spring break the past week, and while the first few days were just being at home, being a slacker, the final few days were spent in Saint George, at a track meet. But the nice weather, and the not-as-great-as-expected tan I got aside, I went with a goal in mind. I would run both the 800 and the mile. My goal was to break a five minute mile, and had done most everything I could to do so.
I ran the 800 on Thursday. Not too great. I ran it at the exact same pace I needed to run the mile, and it was only half the distance. There was no way that I would have been able to hold that pace for two more laps! But I put that out of my mind.
I just focused, and most importantly, I prayed, and I tried. I ended up running around 9 pm. The sun had gone down, it was nice and cool. Perfect running weather. Well, near perfect. I thought, as I was nearing my race, that it would be amazing if I had a little rain to help keep me cool when I ran. So part of my pre-race prayer was asking for "a little rain".
I would put all my effort into it, and I felt that if I did so, the Lord would give me rain. And so I ran. I put my all into it, despite rain not coming on the first lap, nor the second lap, nor the third lap. As I began my final lap, I began to think, "Where is the rain? I know the Lord can give me a little rain. Where is it? I'm working hard. I feel that I deserve just a little rain. Where is it?"
The things about life is, it sucks. Life kind of really sucks sometimes. And we sometimes just want a break. Sometimes we even may deserve a break. But we don't understand our trials if we have our minds focused on the rest we'll receive after it's over.
We don't get our little rain right away, no matter how much faith we have when we pray. Our rain doesn't come when we want it to. But it does come.
As I ran my final lap, I noticed that I was right on pace. My teammates and coaches were shouting at me. Cheering for me. Yelling "let's go Nathaniel! Do you want to break five or not? Push it now!" Yes. I wanted it. I wanted to win. I want to have that victory, rain or no rain.
As I crossed the finish line, I felt a raindrop, and another.
I stepped of the track, and saw a couple of my teammates running towards me with smiles on their faces. Good news. They told me I ran a 4:59. Right where I wanted. Not only did I have my victory, but I had the little rain I wanted.
We expect our trials to go our way, and gets breaks whenever we want, but that's not how God wants them to go. A race isn't set on our own terms, with breaks whenever we feel like it. My race was 1600 meters. No more, no less. Run that. That's all they ask.
And I ran that to the best of my ability. Because I was asked to. We need to realize that our reward is a result of our effort, not our participation. If we put all we can into facing our trials, we will receive that reward. That rain we so desperately desire.
This gives me hope as I step into darkness. It gives me hope that if I put my entire heart, might, mind, and soul into facing this battle, rather than think about when I'll be freed from it, I will be victorious. And yes, it will hurt, and yes, I will want my rain. And it will come, but not until I do everything that was asked of me.
The rain will come. Trust me. It won't come when we want it, but when it comes, we will realize that it came exactly when we needed it.
Hold onto that thought.