The Hard Work of Waiting

Why I ever thought it was a good idea to quit working out I will never know. Running (on the elliptical or otherwise) has always been a cathartic, meditative experience for me. In that space of breathing and following a rhythm I am more focused than at any other time, except maybe during the contractions of labor.

After nursing a back injury last week, I jumped back on the elliptical each morning this week for 30 minutes. It is during this time – ALWAYS – that I am able to shut out everything but the sound of my music and the voice of God. At the end of a workout I find myself centered, at peace, and usually running for my computer to jot down some revelation that came to me.

I listen to the same mix of seven songs during my workout:

Quiet Place – Sheri Youngward
Invitation Fountain – The Violet Burning
Clean (My God has Rescued Me) – The Violet Burning
Forty Weight – The Violet Burning
Lord Raise Me Up – Matisyahu
King Without a Crown – Matisyahu
Shalom – Matisyahu

Yesterday, during The Violet Burning’s Forty Weight – my arms and legs burning, and sweat dripping – I found myself bearing down into a difficult interval, pushing harder and harder into the resistance. Momentum was building. I was sprinting. Out of breath. And wailing over and over into the silence outside my iPod earbuds, “I WAIT FOR YOU…” In my tiredness and out of breath-ness, it was a pleading call, a reaching out.

The irony of ‘waiting’ for God as a motivator to run harder struck me.

There is an illustration I hear often in the church that describes a man who crashes his plane in the wilderness and survives. And he prays that God would deliver him from the wilderness he is in. Then a hiker walks by and offers to guide him out of the wilderness, and the man declines, insisting that he is waiting for God to deliver him. Then a helicopter flies overhead, the pilot offering to airlift him out of the wilderness, but the man declines and says he is waiting for God to deliver him. The man then dies in the wilderness. And when he faces Jesus in heaven he is angry and bitter and says, I prayed for you to deliver me from the wilderness, but you did not hear me. And Jesus says to him, I sent you a hiker to guide you out, and a helicopter pilot to carry you out, and you did not see that it was me delivering you from the wilderness.

I don’t want my waiting to be like that. I don’t want to be standing around waiting for God to zap off my ass like a good liposuction surgery. I don’t want to be sitting in my chair waiting for God to suck the anger vapors from my body like a fancy Ghostbusters trick. I want my waiting to be a running toward God, a desperate seeking of his presence. Not because he can heal me or fix me or make me feel better, but because in his presence there is a peace that passes understanding.

One thought on “The Hard Work of Waiting”

  1. Virtual high-five directed up the Valley Freeway from me to you. This is an amazing way to look at things, I’m so glad you could write it down so that I could read it. I will think of this as I run.

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