Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Trot or no Trot
It was Thanksgiving 2013 and it was cold, especially down along the lake, which is where I found myself at 8:00 am that morning. I was signed up to run the annual Turkey Trot, a 5K that gathers hundreds of runners together each Thanksgiving morning. Some runners were dressed as turkeys and pilgrims. I even saw a few dogs take part in the festivities.
I remember taking my place among the 9 minute mile group. It was an accomplishment to be standing anywhere in the lineup, especially given my health history. In 2013 I was three years into inexplicable symptoms that had relapsed and remitted at random. I had already gone through one cycle of unintentional weight loss followed by some weight gain. Unbeknownst to me on that Thanksgiving morning a relapse was on the horizon and I was on my way back down the scale but standing in the turkey trotting crowd I was unaware of the future to come. I believed I was on the mend once and for all. I thought I had been healed. I was confident that my body had been restored and was on the path to regaining full health.
Oh, how little I knew.
That year I ran the Turkey Trot without any trouble, beating my anticipated time. I felt alive and full of vitality. I had flush cheeks and an invigorated heart. When I crossed the finish line I did it with victory, proclaiming healing and vowing to return again next year.
And I did. I ran again in 2014 and 2015 but each year I returned with less weight and less speed than I had the year before. I ran but I couldn't cross the finish line proclaiming healing. Instead I crossed the finish line proclaiming the sufficiency of God and His ability to physically sustain me.
In just a few short days it will be Thanksgiving and runners will line up along the lake for the annual Turkey Trot but I won't be in attendance. I wasn't there last year, either because, last year, I had to face the tough reality that my body can no longer run three miles. In fact, it can no longer run one mile. At least not today. Not this year.
When this year's online Turkey Trot registration opened I contemplated entering as a walker. I imagined myself naming and claiming future healing by walking the 3.2 miles, vowing to return again next year at a faster pace.
When I completed the registration, one click away from being added to the list of participants, a hand guided my mouse away from "submit" and hoovered over "cancel" instead. Then a little voice spoke and stopped me in my trotting tracks.
You don't need to enter a race. You're already winning one.
At that moment I realized that I don't need to make a great proclamation of healing or make claims about my future physical restoration. God has my health in His hands and His timing under His control.
I don't know when my body will put on weight again or pick up speed again. I don't know if I will ever enter a Turkey Trot again. And I don't need to because God knows.
God knows my physical condition. He knows how weak and fragile I am. He is fully aware of every symptom that plagues me. God knows what is head on my long journey back to health.
Instead of claims about the future, God wants my faith for today. I know this is true because He tells me not to worry about tomorrow, it will take care of itself. He doesn't need me to make a great 3.2 walk to claim His healing. He needs me to wake up every morning, trot or no trot, and proclaim His sufficiency and provision even when my body feels weak and evidence of physical restoration is no where to be found on a scale or a scan. He desires my trust whether I am lacing up my sneakers or retiring my running shoes. God commands that I believe in His power to heal even when my weight is slipping and my pace is slowing.
I can't claim to know what God has in store for my body because claims for the future are not mine to make. But I can claim to have faith in whatever the future holds, trot or no trot, because I know who holds it.