About 5 weeks before I left for Italy I went for a run in the neighborhood. I was gearing up to run the 10k in the 2014 Giant Race on September 7th with my older sister and step-dad. My goal that day was to run a little over 3 miles. While I was enjoying the run, the fresh air, watching the sunset and spending time talking with Jesus, I was also very tired, mentally and physically.
By the time I made the final turn onto the street where I was to end my run I was beyond ready to stop. So much of me wanted to walk the rest of the way home but I still had at least a 1/4 of a mile more to go to meet my goal of 3 miles. I didn’t want to stop short of my goal only to regret shortly after that I threw in the towel just shy of meeting my goal.
I am a pretty goal-oriented person and I try to live my life free of regrets. But that late afternoon during my run, my desire to finish what I set out to do was at war with the rest of my body and mind. Both my mind and body were screaming for me to be done already. My will to keep going was starting to feel like a lawn freshly mowed down by all the arguments and excuses my body and mind had conjured up and thrown at it.
The spirit is willing but the flesh (body) is weak. -Matthew 26:41
Looking up ahead, I could see the cross walk where my imaginary finish line was. The cross walk was about an 1/8 of a mile away at this point. I asked Jesus to give me the will to keep running until I got to the far side of the cross walk where my pretend finish line patiently awaited my arrival.
His response caught me off guard.
What He spoke to my heart was this: you don’t need the will to run across the cross walk right now because you aren’t there yet. I will give you what you need when you need it. Right now, you need the will to run these next 10 steps. 10 steps from now you’ll need the will to run the following 10 steps. When you reach the cross walk, then you shall have what you need for that moment.
And you know what?
He was right.
I caught myself making this same mistake earlier this week. There was something I knew I would have to do in the future I didn’t presently have the will to do. I asked the Lord for the heart to do the task but then He brought this lesson to mind and patiently reminded me it was okay I didn’t have the will to do the task today because the task isn’t meant to be done today, this week or even this month. If or when the time comes for a task to be done, He will supply all I need to carry out whatever it is He has ordained for me to do. He not only gives the will but the strength, wisdom, qualification, resources, encouragement, support… all I need both to will and do whatever it is He has prepared for me to do.
His timing is perfect. Not one element is missing or delivered too late. Ever.
Stride by stride, I made it to the far side of the cross walk before slowing to a walk.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed- not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence- continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you TO WILL AND TO ACT according to his good purpose. -Philippians 2:13-14