THE LORD PASSED BY: by jodi stilp
Remember when I told you that God-centered exercise has an element of holiness to it? My prayer is that you’ve experienced this holiness first-hand as you’ve practiced honoring God with your body. In the off chance that you still think I’m crazy, I decided to share an old story with you that happened more than two years ago. It was a holy moment and I hope it encourages you.
I came home from a photo shoot with my kids (ranging in age from 3 to 7 years) promising to NEVER go anywhere with them again. My wise husband urged me to put on my running shoes and trade the madness for some time with God. I mapped out a ten-mile loop on the mountain behind our house and took off.
I cranked my worship music and started climbing, cresting the first peak around the three-mile mark. The road turned to gravel and dropped down into a serene mountain valley. As the forest closed in around me, I turned off my music to revel in the solitude.
My feet crunched the gravel in a rhythmic cadence. The delicious smell of leaves burning wafted through the air. Birds serenaded me. A mountain creek babbled. Dogs barked and horses whinnied. In the distance, saws squealed and hammers pounded. The cacophony of sound somehow sounded harmonious.
I turned off the gravel road and started a second and much larger climb. I labored up the mountain, with each step exchanging frustration for peace. When I finally emerged from the woods, I gasped at majestic Mt. Hood. Cloaked in clouds, fog, and the last rays of sunlight, she towered in the distance grandly keeping watch over the tiny foothill I was climbing.
The wind that whispered gently at the start of my run increased in intensity as it whistled then whipped through the trees. Branches danced to its melody and as I crested the final peak, I could see and feel the storm rolling in. I paused briefly at the summit to soak in the panoramic view of valleys, vineyards, forest and distant snow-capped peaks before starting my steep and fast descent.
The storm chased me down the mountain. Friction from the road heated the bottom of my shoes. Wind-induced tears rolled down my face and dried before I could wipe them away. The trees sang as I raced down, down, down to the safety of my home below. As our neighborhood came into view, I felt the first drop of rain on my face. My legs were tight, new blisters were forming on my toes, and my fingers were ice cold, but my soul was refreshed.
I couldn't help but think of the time Elijah felt abandoned, scared and alone. God told him, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." (Read I Kings 19 for the whole story.) Elijah expected God to reveal Himself in the wind, earthquake, and fire, but the LORD chose a soft and gentle whisper to assure Elijah of His love and remind him of his purpose.
The LORD passed by me on my run. He whispered “You are not alone” in the thick forest. He displayed His power in majestic Mt. Hood. He used the trees to sing me a love song. He dried my tears with the wind. He restored my soul. The LORD passed by.
- Will you share your the LORD passed by moment with us? Email your story to email@example.com. We want to hear from you.
- Make sure to tune in next week for information on what to expect on race day.
- Mark your calendar to volunteer at The Portland Running Company on Friday, June 10th, any time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. You have to pick up your packet. Why not stay and volunteer? If you can help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you connected.
- We will have a tent set up on race morning. Plan to come a little early to meet other athletes who have been training and pick up your Not Your Own wristband.
- Hang in there. The end is in sight. You can do it!
Persevering With You,