While waiting at the starting line, I felt a mixture of excitement and sickness. The sky was beginning to show signs of a new day, but the heavy clouds shadowed the sun. I knew that it was going to be a long road ahead of me. Once the gun fired, I reached for my hood to shelter me from the rain that was beginning to fall. I began the runners bounce and prepared my trot across the starting line.
I had been training for this race for months, but something about this morning did not feel right. Not only did I have the remnance of the stomach bug hovering over me, but I also found myself overwhelmed with anxiousness and fright of the race ahead of me. I knew I was not properly fueled. There were many kinks in my normal running routine.
I jogged behind the 4:25 pacer determined I was going to beat Oprah, but slowed my pace due to my lack of energy. I usually start my runs off with a GU pack just moments before, but this morning all I could get down was a dose of Pepto and a G2 Gatorade. Two things I have not had in my months of training. Still, the more I ran, the harder the rain fell leaving me with little confidence to my journey miles ahead.
As I continued down the road, I began to dig deep and wouldn’t you know that my iPod started playing Bring the Rain by Mercy Me? A song I discovered during my training that reminded me of God’s amazing grace sheltering me through many storms. In the past few years, God has been teaching me a lot about storms and has brought out the most beautiful testimonies, making me completely transparent sharing my faith and His faithfulness. It was through those most difficult circumstances that I was able to see God as my ultimate redeemer.
The lyrics of this song speak of people asking how anyone could praise God after all the hardships they’ve experienced. My answer is: He is the only hope I have. I have no other reason to breathe than to praise my Savior. Yes, it is hard to go through the storms that crush and persecute us. It is hard to be abandoned by friends and loved ones. It is hard to deal with death or even financial loss, but to me it would be much more impossible to live a life without God. He is the reason I have ever made it through the storms.
After my revelation, I looked up through the rain to see my favorite training verse lighted on a church sign. It read, “Let us run with perseverance, the race set out before us” Hebrews 12:1. I realized that I need to be persistent in my faith; not letting this particular storm above me affect my goal. Sometimes we need that rain, the trials and faith-testing moments for us to be drawn back to Him.
I know this life (and this race) is not going to be easy. God never promised that it would be easy, but when Christ walked this earth, He did leave us with a reminder, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We will not run alone. Even though God has shown me His faithfulness, I still have to continue to be on guard because sometimes it hard to feel energized during the storms. As I prayed for strength and against fatigue, I remembered another verse which says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” Psalm 28:7. As I the rain continued to pour, I lifted my head up and pressed on towards the finish line listening to Mercy Me. This time I sang along to those beautiful words, “Jesus, bring the rain!”